Defending champion Rafa Nadal on Friday thrashed Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters for a record 14th time.
Thiem, who had beaten Nadal twice on clay previously, was considered as the Spaniard’s toughest opponent heading into the tournament, but he crumbled in the Monaco sunshine.
The world No. 1 won nine straight games before Thiem even got on the scoreboard, drawing sympathetic cheers from the crowd.
The 31-year-old brought up match point with a blistering forehand winner and wrapped up the contest when Thiem fired a backhand into the net, his 25th unforced error.
It was a ruthless display from the 10-time champion, who is next to face Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the final. Nadal has to win the tournament to stop his rival Roger Federer from regaining the top ranking.
“I think I played a great match — the best of the tournament,” Nadal said. “I played very aggressive — I knew I couldn’t give Dominic time to hit the ball and I didn’t.”
Dimitrov made the most of a second-set collapse by David Goffin to reach the Monte Carlo semi-finals for the first time with a 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory.
After conceding the opening set, Goffin raced to a 5-1 lead in the second, but wasted three opportunities on his own serve to force a decider.
Dimitrov, who has struggled on clay in the past and has never progressed past the third round of the French Open, broke twice and sealed the victory in the tiebreak to record one of his best performances on the surface.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori needed four match points to put away second-seeded Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 and reach his first Masters semi-finals since July 2016.
The 28-year-old served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, but Cilic, the Australian Open runner-up, roared back to save three match points and went on to claim the tiebreaker in style.
Nishikori regained his composure to secure a crucial break in the eighth game of the decider as he clinched a semi-final berth in just under three hours.
He is next to meet Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who came back from a set down to beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first