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ATP Monte Carlo: The Semifinals are Set

Photo of Rafael Nadal by mirsasha.

Photo of Rafael Nadal by mirsasha.

Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray both survived double duty to book their spots in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. Nadal defeated both Nicolas Lapentti and Ivan Ljubicic with relative ease, though he did start slowly against both of them. However, once he became comfortable, he was able to dominate both of his opponents.

“The first match [of the day] I started badly, but I finished the match better than I start,” said Nadal. “The second match, maybe even had a lot of mistakes. But the feeling was better. [The] important thing [is that] I finished the day better than I started [it].”

Nadal will face 4th ranked Andy Murray in the semifinals. Murray also had double duty on Friday, as he defeated both Fabio Fognini and Nikolay Davydenko; however, he was tested in both of those matches. He has played well and fought hard during his matches this week, but he will need to improve if he wants to defeat Nadal, who is 25-0 in Monte Carlo.

The other semifinal match will be between 3rd seeded Novak Djokovic and 13th seeded Stanislas Wawrinka, who backed up his win over his countryman Roger Federer with an impressive victory over Andreas Beck.

“Sometimes after a big win, you might put pressure on yourself,” said Wawrinka. “But I was aware of that and I tried not to do that.”

Djokovic was equally as impressive in his win over Fernando Verdasco. He looked to be in control after winning the first set 6-2, but when Verdasco raised the level of his play, Djokovic was able to respond and win the match in three sets.

“I think today was a really good test, a really good match for me, that I can see if I’m able to do that.  That’s what I did.  I hung in there [and] just waited for my chances.”

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