Blockbuster Semis Set!

FINAL FOUR: A blockbuster semi-final day lies ahead at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters:
[6] Tomas Berdych vs. [14] [WC] Gael Monfils
[1] Novak Djokovic vs. [3] Rafael Nadal
Djokovic and Nadal meet for a record 43rd time and for the first time since last year’s Roland Garros final. The Spaniard leads the pair’s FedEx H2H series 23-19 and boasts a 14-4 advantage on clay, but the Serb has emerged victorious in four of their last five meetings. Berdych and Monfils meet for the seventh time, with the Czech winning five of their six previous contests, including both their outings this year in Rotterdam and Miami.

Djokovic is aiming to reach his 33rd ATP Masters 1000 final (22-10) & his 75th overall (51-23)
Nadal is aiming to reach his 41st ATP Masters 1000 final (27-13) & his 94th overall (65-28)
Berdych is aiming to reach his fourth ATP Masters 1000 final (1-2) & his 27th overall (10-16)
Monfils is aiming to reach his third ATP Masters 1000 final (0-2) & his 23rd overall (5-17)

RIVALRY RENEWED: This will be the 43rd meeting between Nadal and Djokovic, which is the most frequent Open Era match-up and one of the most evenly contested. The pair has met 42 times in total (Nadal 23-19 Djokovic) – 21 times on hard courts (Nadal 7-14 Djokovic); 18 times on clay (Nadal 14-4 Djokovic); and three times on grass (Nadal 2-1 Djokovic).

DJOKOVIC’S DOMINANCE: Djokovic, who is enjoying a 15-match winning streak, remains on course to win a fourth ATP Masters 1000 tournament in succession, after capturing the titles in Paris-Bercy (at the end of 2014), Indian Wells and Miami. He is looking to capture four in a row for the second time in his career* having also achieved the feat in 2013-14 with wins in Shanghai, Paris, Indian Wells and Miami. The only other player to have won four Masters in a row was Nadal (Madrid, Rome, Montréal, Cincinnati – 2013). The 27-year-old is also aiming to become the first player to win the opening three ATP Masters 1000 events of the season. He has been dominant at this tournament level in recent years, winning 17 of the last 38 (45%) Masters 1000 tournaments.

*In 2011, Djokovic won five ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in a row at events he contested: Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome, Montréal. He did not feature in Monte-Carlo that year, however.

NADAL GOING FOR NINE: Nadal, who won here every year from 2005-12, is aiming to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final since Rome 11 months ago (l. to Djokovic). He is chasing a ninth Monte-Carlo title this week and a record 28th ATP Masters 1000 crown. The Spaniard’s loss to Djokovic here in the 2013 final brought an end to his 81-match winning streak on clay in the month of April and his 46 consecutive wins at this event. The World No. 5 has the best career match record on clay in the Open Era with a 327-25 mark (.929) and he is 46-7 in clay finals. Since 2005, he has a 301-15 record (.953) on the surface.

BIG FOUR DOMINATION: The quartet of Djokovic, Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have accounted for 41 of the last 45 ATP Masters 1000 tournaments (since 2010 Monte-Carlo). The only exceptions came at Paris-Bercy in 2010 (Soderling) and 2012 (Ferrer) and last year in Monte-Carlo (Wawrinka) and Toronto (Tsonga).

END OF THE DROUGHT? Monfils is aiming to become the first Frenchman to reach the Monte-Carlo final since Cedric Pioline emerged victorious 15 years ago. A win today would see the World No. 18 advance to his third ATP Masters 1000 final and a first since Paris-Bercy in 2010 (l. to Soderling).

BERDYCH’S CONSISTENCY: After falling to Murray in the Miami SF, Berdych will be hoping to go one step further today after a solid start to the season. The Czech has now reached the final four at six of the seven tournaments he has contested in 2015, while all six of his losses to-date have come against Top 10 opposition. He is looking to reach his fourth final at this level and a first since Madrid 2012 (l. to Federer).

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