Nadal rues ‘disaster’ serve after a shock defeat

Nadal has played 16 seasons of the Monte Carlo Masters and made it to the semi finals on 14 occasions

Spanish sensation Rafael Nadal bowed out of the Monte Carlo Masters tournament after a shocking loss to Russia’s Andrey Rublev, who cruised to a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win on Friday. Nadal was eyeing his 75th Masters’ semi-final and 12th Monte Carlo Masters title but was left stunned by the Russian. Earlier, world number 1 Novak Djokovic also crashed out of the tournament in the third round itself.

Post the match, Nadal admitted that his serve was a ‘disaster’.

“Today was one of those days that my serve was a disaster,” said world number three Nadal. “It’s always sad to lose here. I missed an opportunity to start the clay court season in the right way. But that’s it. It’s not the moment to complain.

“The only thing that I can do is go to Barcelona (where he plays next week) and keep practicing, try to fix the things that didn’t work well.”

Despite an average show in the Monte Carlo Masters, Nadal will start as one of the contenders to capture the 13th Roland Garros title in June.

“For Rafa, it must be incredibly difficult to play with this pressure of always having to win,” said Rublev who also made the Miami Masters semi-finals at the start of April. “I’m shocked to see the level which he can reach despite this pressure. It’s much easier to play when you have nothing to lose.”

This was only the 2nd instance in 16 appearances that Rafael Nadal didn’t make it to the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo tournament.

Rublev will now face unseeded Casper Ruud, who stunned the defending champion, Fabio Gognini, in the semi-final. In the other semi-final, Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Britain’s Dan Evans, who defeated Novak Djokovic.

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