Article

Nadal marches on towards 11th Monte Carlo crown

21 April 2018 15:54

The number 11 is becoming a theme of Rafael Nadal's clay-court season after he cruised into the Monte Carlo Masters final at the expense of Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal will look for an 11th title in the Principality following Saturday's 6-4 6-1 semi-final win, his 11th in 12 meetings with the Bulgarian.

It was not the vintage display that saw Dominic Thiem swatted aside on Friday, but Nadal – who is favourite to win the French Open for an 11th time next month - still had plenty in his locker to end Dimitrov's impressive run.

Nadal sent thundering forehands deep into Dimitrov's side throughout the encounter, and when presented with an opening, rolled out a string of whipped winners that just kissed the lines.

Dimitrov gave as good as he got in the opening set, fighting back from 3-0 down to level at 3-3 with excellent defence and stunning athleticism.

However, a let up in his energy at the business end of the set cost Dimitrov dearly, Nadal taking advantage to break – another pinpoint forehand sealing a 1-0 lead.

From there it was a walk in the park for the world number one as Dimitrov's level dropped dramatically, possibly due to a shoulder problem.

While errors crept into the fourth seed's game, there were no such problems for Nadal as he coasted into Sunday's final – getting there by winning a record 34th successive set on clay.

The Spaniard will face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori in the showpiece in Monte Carlo as he looks to hold onto top spot in the rankings.

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