World number 1, Rafael Nadal was facing off against Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals. Given that this was a clash between 2 of the best clay court players, Nadal would have to dig deep. Instead, Nadal need not have worked himself into a tizzy. What really happned was that the Spaniard thrashed Austrian fifth seed and reached a record 14th Monte Carlo Masters semi-final.
Nadal romped to his 11th victory at the clay court event by winning 6-0 6-2 in just 67 minutes.
Now, the 31-year old will meet Bulgarian fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov in the last four for a berth in the finals.
Dimitrov bested Belgian player David Goffin with a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) win despite the latter leading 5-1 in the second set.
On the other side of the draw, second seed Marin Cilic will challenge Kei Nishikori, while Alexander Zverev faces Richard Gasquet.
Thiem was considered as Nadal’s biggest threat as he has beaten the Spaniard on the same surface. To be precise, in Rome last year, as an added bonus, he defeated Novak Djokovic as well.
Thiem was aiming for 2 big scalps in Monte Carlo but was completely outclassed. Nadal needed just 31 minutes to take the first set, winning four of his 11 break points and not facing one against his own serve.
Thiem held serve in the second set to avoid a double-bagel defeat. But he was in no position to threaten Nadal’s serve. As a result, the 16-time Grand Slam champion eased to an emphatic victory.
Rafa is aiming for an 11th French Open title, thus extending his record when the tournament gets under way on 27 May. The Spaniard has won 31 of his past 32 matches on clay.
“I think I played a great match – the best of the tournament,” said Nadal.
“I played very aggressive, I knew I couldn’t give Dominic time to hit the ball and I didn’t.”
Here is how Twitter reacted to the match.
#Nadal can come from baseline while on move (opposite direction) and still answer many drop shots, imagine what he'll do when a slow serve pops up nicely
— R K V (@rkvvss) April 20, 2018
— Stijn Lieshout (@stijnlieshout) April 20, 2018
Woke up and saw that the #Nadal v. #Thiem match was 5-0 in the first set. Closed my eyes and went back to bed. #KingOfClay #MONTECARLOMASTERS #MonteCarloRolexMasters #ATP #ATPMasters1000 #tennis #Vamos
— Leslie DeGonia (@LeslieDeGonia) April 20, 2018
#Cilic slider is working against righty #Nishikori. Would it work vs lefty #Nadal? Rafa can nail backhand returns but slider in deuce court would at least open up opportunity to attack Rafa wide to his forehand. Attack his sword, not his shield.
— Christopher Johnson (@globaliteman) April 20, 2018
— Kimberly A. Woodard (@BeingKimmie) April 20, 2018
@RafaelNadal is a god born to play and dominate on his fav surface.
— Pranjal (@pran7singh) April 20, 2018
— krassy allanson (@krassy_allanson) April 20, 2018