Andrey Rublev Stuns 11-Time Champ Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo Masters 2021

Published 04/16/2021, 2:24 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


World No.2 Rafael Nadal slumped to a three-set defeat at the hands-off Russian stalwart Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo Masters 2021. This is Rublev’s first victory against Nadal. The scorecard read: 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

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Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter-final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Rafael Nadal’s thrashing in the first set against Andrey Rublev

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Trouble was brewing as Nadal lost his first service game itself because of a double fault. Early on in the set, Rublev was playing with Nadal as he broke both of Nadal’s forehand and backhand to take a 2-0 lead. But being 2-0 down, some decisive hitting from Nadal won him the next eight points as he broke back to level the first set.

But double faults and backhand errors saw the tide change again in the match. As Rublev targeted Nadal’s second serve and backhand, he broke Nadal again and lead 3-2. And continuing his ruthless tennis, Rublev won four consecutive games from 2-2 to surprise Nadal and win the first set, 6-2.

Rafael Nadal makes a comeback

It was clear Nadal’s backhand was his weak point. Thus Rublev targeted it. Nadal was getting frustrated and angry. The Spaniard was broken in the first game itself. As Rublev sent in shots on his backhand, Nadal tried everything, but his shots weren’t connecting. Rublev’s fearless tennis and unpredictable shots earned him a 2-0 lead.

Nadal was trying to cope with his backhand misses, but then his serve became his enemy. A few uncanny double faults and fierce returns from Rublev threatened Nadal even further. Serving at 3-1, Nadal had an ultra-long hold which lasted over 11 minutes.

Andrey Rublev reacts during his quarter-final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Nadal had a brief comeback as he had multiple break points at 3-2. But Rublev saved them to end all hopes. At 4-2, Rublev received a golden chance to get another break, but Nadal saved them to stay in the match 4-3. Serving at 4-3, Rublev hit a double fault, which gave Nadal a way to come back into the match. And Nadal made a fabulous comeback from being 4-2 down. He won the set, 6-4.

Andrey Rublev ends Rafael Nadal’s misery

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The third set started off on a tense note. As rallies often crossed the ten-shot mark, Nadal regrouped to gain a slight upper hand. But the joy was short-lived as Nadal was broken in the first game itself. In the next few games, both players exchanged breaks as Rublev then lead 3-1.

From 3-1, Rublev took a strong 5-1 lead courtesy of his forehand winners. Despite the second set debacle, Rublev stayed on in the match and unleashed further. Thus, Rublev joined an exclusive club of players to have beaten Nadal at Monte Carlo. Rublev won the final set, 6-2.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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