Djokovic splits Spanish fliers
Originally published on: 16/04/10 18:29
Novak Djokovic faced down the mercurial David Nalbandian with a 6-2 6-3 victory in the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters quarter-finals to book his spot in the final four alongside defending champion Rafael Nadal and fellow Spaniards David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco.
“I played really well,” said Djokovic, who last to Nadal in last year’s final. “I hope I can keep this kind of game all the way to the end.”
It became clear from the first point of Nadal’s quarter-final contest with compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero – the fourth of five Spaniards in the last eight, an Open era Masters 1000 tournament first – that another near whitewash was not on the cards.
Nadal had dropped just a single game against both Thiemo de Bakker and Michael Berrer in his opening matches.
But a spirited start from Ferrero and wet, blustery conditions on the Monaco coast both flzzled out after a 50-minute rain delay, and Nadal – chasing a record sixth Monte Carlo crown – notched up his 30th victory at the MCCC.
“To get to the semi-fials is a very good start to the clay season,” said Nadal. “I did well – I played a complete match today and I served much better, the best in three days. That’s very important.”
The four-time Roland Garros champion has now reached the semi-finals of each of the last three Masters 1000 events, losing in the final four in Indian Wells and Miami in the past few weeks as his wait for a first title in nearly a year goes on.
“I lost a little bit of concentration with the weather interruption, that’s the only part of the match that I’m not happy with,” said the Spaniard.
“With the wind, it was very difficult to be aggressive,” said Ferrero. “But I tried. After an hour, I felt a bit more tired and I couldn’t push all the time that I was doing at the beginning. I had to be very aggressive with my forehand if I wanted to win the match, try to move him a lot to get him a little bit tired – I didn’t do it.”
Nadal will play Ferrer in the semi-finals after his Davis Cup teammate edged past Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5 7-6(1) later in the day, while Djokovic will face Verdasco after the No.6 seed saw a 5-1 second set lead wiped out by Albert Montanes before storming through the decider for a 6-3 6-7(4) 6-0 victory to reach his first Masters 1000 final.