Nadal To Face Goffin In SFs
Rafael Nadal will take on David Goffin on Saturday for a place in his 11th final at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, where he has lifted nine trophies and has an incredible 61-4 match record.
“I am through, I am in semi-finals,” said Nadal. “That’s what I’m looking for, it’s a great start to the clay-court season. Tomorrow, I am going to have a very tough match against a player that is playing so good. I need to play better than today, obviously. But I think the conditions are going to be different. I hope to be ready to play well.”
“[Goffin] is a great player. He’s a player that is playing unbelievably well during the whole season. He is winning so many matches. A big, talented player. I know he can win against everybody. And he knows that. Every time he’s more and more confident. I said last year, ‘He’s a player that can fight for the top position’, because he’s a very complete player on all of the surfaces. He can play well everywhere. That’s very important today. He is a big, big player.”
Fourth seed Nadal did not have things his own way in cold conditions and under the floodlights of the Monte-Carlo Country Club, surviving a first-set comeback and a spirited display by Argentinean Diego Schwartzman on Friday night to win 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 40 minutes.
The pair’s third meeting started at 7:27 p.m. local time, following three three-set matches earlier in the day, with Schwartzman breaking Nadal to love in the first game. Nadal responded to take a 4-1 lead, but came within one point of a 4-5 deficit as Schwartzman found his range with his powerful forehand and some solid backhand winners down the line.
From 5-4 in the opener to a 2-0 advantage in the second set, Nadal regained control, but Schwartzman grew in confidence breaking serve in the third and fifth games for a 4-2 lead.
Watched by a crowd of less than 500, Nadal worked his way back by varying his groundstroke pace and service direction to win four straight games. Nadal improved to 22-5 on the 2017 ATP World Tour season in a match that finished at 9:06 p.m. local time.
“I think I had the [winning] mentality when I was 4-2 in the second set,” said Nadal. “These matches have been up and down, not easy to find a real way to win until then. In the last three and a half games, I played much better, more aggressive with my forehand. I finally found the way to create damage to the opponent.”
Although 5’7” Schwartzman drops to 0-10 lifetime against opponents in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final appearance will be rewarded on Monday with a place in the Top 40.
Tomorrow, Nadal will look to add to his legacy at the historic clay-court tournament, where he played his first Masters 1000 tournament as a 16 year old in 2003 (l. to Coria in 3R).