Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nole vs Rafa in Monte Carlo final

Djokovic vs Nadal in Monte Carlo final

Rafael Nadal scored a 6-3, 6-4 win over Gilles Simon to set up a final meeting with Novak Djokovic at the 2012 Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic battle past Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to advance.

Nole started the match by taking a 4-2 lead in the first set but then felt the full weight of the Berdych forehand and lost four consecutive games to fell behind a set to love.

The Serb got an early break in the second set and kept the advantage to level the match. He stepped it up in the decider, racing to a 4-0 lead before closing out victory.

"That's probably one of the most difficult conditions that I played in, in my career, really," said Djokovic. "It was not just the strength of the wind that was blowing, it was the changing of the direction. You couldn't really predict where the ball was going to come from. It was really tough. But in the end I managed to hold my nerves and play well in the third."

"I think that the conditions were pretty tough," said the Czech player. "This kind of wind was kind of like there were circles around. You never know from where it's going to come. For my game, it was just a bit of killer because I like to play aggressive. These kinds of conditions don't help at all."

About playing Nadal in the final, Nole commented: "It will be the most difficult match for me in this tournament. He's the player to beat here. He's the player to beat on clay courts. He's the best ever in the history of the sport on this surface. It's the ultimate challenge. I need to play well. I need to play well from the first to the last point. I cannot have ups and downs. I cannot afford that against Rafa. I'm aware of that. But why not believe that I can win?"

Nadal talked about his record with Nole after his win, "I have everything to win. That's the only positive thing about losing seven times. The next matches, you only have to win."

"Don't forget that few weeks ago, I didn't know if I will be here playing or not," he added. "The match will be a fantastic test for me, and I have to play aggressive."

Rafa thinks the Serb is the favorite.

"Seriously, I (would) like to play this match a few weeks later," Nadal said. "When one player beats another one seven times in a row (on) clay, hard, and grass, is very easy to decide the favorite."

"We are evenly matched," Djokovic commented. "You always know that Rafa is going to come up with his best fight and his best tennis."

Simon had Nadal under pressure at 3-3 in the first set. Nadal was down 15-40 in the seventh game and Simon was dominating the rally from the back of the court until one Nadal return took a bad bounce and the ball skidded under Simon's racket.

On the next point, Simon then hurried a volley at the net, patting it straight back to Nadal, who clipped a passing shot that forced Simon to chop a backhand volley into the net at full stretch.

"That was the most important (moment) because I know after that I play with new balls," Nadal said. "That is better for me because the bounces are higher and more favorable for me, and with the wind in my favor."

Simon missed all seven chances he had to break Nadal's serve. The Spaniard clinched victory on his first match point when he held for love.

"I felt well physically and tennis wise," said Simon. "I knew I had the weapons I needed to play a good match against him. But still it was tough to actually do it. Sad that I was not able to reach this achievement and beat him. But I was not realistic enough on certain opportunities. Against him, you can't afford that.

"It's never a good feeling when you lose, but it's encouraging because I was able to give him some trouble, and that is interesting. My regret is I didn't play well enough on the breakpoints I had."

Source Tournament website
Photo AP