How Did Andrey Rublev Breach Rafael Nadal’s Fortress at Monte Carlo Masters 2021

Published 04/17/2021, 1:55 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.3 Rafael Nadal suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Andrey Rublev at the Monte Carlo Masters 2021. Rafa won just 10 games in the whole match as compared to Rublev’s 16. Even though he fought hard, Rublev was simply the better player. The final scoreline of the match was 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

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Experts have analyzed the match and come up with the stats that led to the loss of Rafael Nadal. The King of Clay didn’t look in great form throughout the match, and the reason is quite simple.

Rafa is a player who loves to play more and more forehand shots. He even likes to offer forehands when the ball is actually on his right instead of using his backhand. However, Andrey Rublev targeted his backhand throughout the match.

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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

Rafa was only able to offer his forehand on 46% of his shots. The picture becomes more clear when one comes to know that the percentage of his forehands was about 63% in his two previous matches at the Monte Carlo Masters 2021.

Rublev’s plan clearly worked as he was able to make Rafa play more with his backhand. Although he lost the second set, he stuck by his strategy and exploited Rafa’s weakness. In the post-match interview, Rafa too admitted that he didn’t hit his backhand too well.

The Baseline Battle- Another area where Andrey Rublev defeated Rafael Nadal

Another intriguing stat that emerged after the match is the percentage of forehands hit from behind the baseline. While Rublev hit just 10% of his forehands from deep in the court- about two meters behind the baseline, Rafa hit about 29% of his forehands from that position.

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

Clearly, it is difficult to hit forehands from the baseline and Rublev was again successful in keeping Rafa back. Excluding this, the Spaniard committed seven double faults, which also became a factor of his terrible loss.

Andrey Rublev managed to get past Casper Ruud in the semis. He’ll now face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the finals of the Monte Carlo Masters 2021. Will the Russian be able to win his first Masters in Monte Carlo this year?

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Anshul Singh

833 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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