Rafael Nadal is through to the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters after overcoming Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman in straight sets.
The Spaniard set up a meeting with David Goffin, who overcame Novak Djokovic in his quarter-final tie, after beating Schwartzman 6-4, 6-4 in France.
Nadal will certainly fancy his chances of claiming his first title of 2017. He hasn’t lost a set in either of his past two matches and, having already lost in three finals this year, will be eager to have one trophy under his belt heading into the French Open, which begins on May 22.
Clay is Nadal’s favourite surface. He may be ranked behind Andy Murray, Djokovic and Roger Federer in the world rankings but he will be aware that the French Open presents his best chance of claiming a major title, following his defeat to Federer in the Australian Open in January.
“I need time, I need hours on court,” he said before the Monte Carlo Masters got underway, via the Independent. “I need to remember how to win points, how to defend, how to move, which balls I can go for and which I cannot. It is a process and it is not automatic.
“Even if you might think it is natural for me because I have had a lot of success on this surface, things are not that easy, especially when you have not played on this surface for nearly a year.
“It takes time to adjust your game, to play differently to the way you play on other surfaces.”
Yet nobody is buying Nadal’s attempts at modesty. Especially when you witness one of the shots he produced in his win over Schwartzman.
Nadal produced a stunning forehand
The score was deuce in the second game of the second set. Schwartzman, a game down, was serving.
He took immediate control of the rally with a forehand and followed it up by forcing Nadal out wide.
The ball looked irretrievable, but somehow Nadal managed to get to it.
Not only that, but he managed to sneak his forehand shot in.
Probably the best thing about it? Nadal apologised after hitting it, as if he got lucky.
That’s not luck, Rafa. That’s skill.
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