Saturday, April 19, 2014
Some Want Nadal To Be The Best Ever
(Reuters) - Rafael Nadal's 30-match claycourt winning streak ended on Friday when the world number one was stunned 7-6(1) 6-4 by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals.
Sixth seed Ferrer, who had beaten Nadal on clay only once 10 years ago and was brushed aside by the muscular left-hander in the French Open final last year, relied on his devastating forehand to prevail in over two hours.
Nadal, who made an uncharacteristic string of unforced errors, was looking to recapture his Monte Carlo crown after Serb Novak Djokovic ended his eight-year reign in last year's final - his last defeat on the slow surface.
Ferrer will next face world number three and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka, who dismissed Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic 7-6(5) 6-2 in the quarter-finals.
Former world number one Roger Federer, seeded fourth, got off to a sluggish start but saw off local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6 7-6(6) 6-1 to set up a meeting with second seed Djokovic who rallied to beat unheralded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez 4-6 6-3 6-1.
Swiss Federer made a series of backhand errors as Tsonga pinned him behind the baseline with his flat forehand, but regained composure in the tiebreak of the second set.
Tsonga's limited fitness was exposed as he lost five games in a row and Federer finally converted a break point at the 16th attempt as he marched into the last four.
Djokovic, looking to achieve an unprecedented Indian Wells-Miami-Monte Carlo treble, was broken twice in succession in the opening set by Garcia Lopez and faced three more break points in the second.
But the Serb saved them all and took the Spaniard's serve to open a 5-3 as he claimed seven games in a row.
Federer leads Djokovic 17-16 in their head-to-head record and they have won a match each this year, Federer prevailing in the Dubai Championship semi-finals and Djokovic taking his revenge in the Indian Wells final.
Ferrer ended a long wait against Nadal, having never beaten him on clay since their first ATP meeting in Stuttgart.
"I have had to wait 10 years to beat him on clay. It was a long wait but I am pleased with the win and the way I played," Ferrer told Spanish TV.
"I spoke with my coach and we had a clear gameplan but with Rafa it's always tough because he doesn't allow you to follow it. The good thing was I was able to deal with his attacks and stay strong physically for the whole match."
Nadal said he did not stick to his own game plan.
"I didn't play the right way. I didn't play with the right in