The blockbuster semi-final that all fans and pundits were salivating at the thought of is set to take place on Saturday afternoon in Monte Carlo, as world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and clay court king Rafael Nadal reignite their rivalry for their latest chapter on the red dust surface. Check out the Nadal vs Djokovic Head to Head results.
The top seed continues to prove he is a near unstoppable force on the ATP World Tour with his thrashing of Marin Cilic to reach the semi-final stage of the first clay court Masters 1000 event of the season. He defeated Cilic 6-0, 6-3 to advance his record to 12-0 against the reigning US Open champion.
“I [have] got to prepare myself mentally for that. Other than the mental part, I think physically I’m ready. I’m not exhausted. I haven’t spent too much time on the court. Also, I’m feeling the ball really well. Hopefully, I can perform well. I know that I’m going to need to keep the high level of performance throughout the entire match tomorrow.”
It was not the easiest of matches for Rafael Nadal, but following a turbulent second set, he was able to overcome his fellow countryman David Ferrer in three sets to advance to the semi-final stage in Monte Carlo. He defeated Ferrer 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in two hour and 45 minutes.
The real trouble that Nadal faced was late in the second set, when he allowed Ferrer to regain one of his breaks, then failed to serve out the match at 5-4. Ferrer won three consecutive games overall to send the match to a decider. However, Nadal took command of the match early in the third set and jumped to a 2-0 lead and held onto it en route to victory.
“I think I played at the highest level [in a] long time, for a long time; three hours almost,” said Nadal. “The way I played the third [set] after losing [a] disappointing second [set], it was a great third set in terms of tennis, in terms of physical performance, in terms of mentality.”
Following their three meetings last year, Nadal leads Djokovic 23-19 in the head-to-head series. Rafa is 14-4 against Djokovic on clay but the gap has closed to 5-4 on that surface since 2011, which certainly evens out Djokovic’s chances on Saturday afternoon. Given that he has a proven track record against Nadal at clay court Masters 1000 events, he is very likely to edge out the Spaniard en route to the final.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Three Sets