Nole and Rafa storm through to Monte Carlo final
World number one Novak Djokovic was forced to go the distance in his semi-final clash with the number six seed, Tomas Berdych, before coming back to prevail 4-6 6-3 6-2.
The big-serving Czech, full of confidence after toppling Andy Murray in the previous round, started the opening set well.
However, Berdych dug deep and fought back to make it four games apiece before breaking the top seed to love and capitalising on Djokovic’s bewilderment to hold serve and claim the first set 6-4.
This prompted Djokovic to reassess his game, which duly worked as he overcame a couple of early break point scares to ease into a 3-0 lead. The one break of serve was enough to secure the second set and level the match at 1-1.
The final set began much the same as the second; with Djokovic racing through the first four games to take a 4-0 lead, it appeared the deciding set would be a whitewash. Despite Berdych managing to clinch a couple of games, any hopes of a famous comeback were swiftly ended with Djokovic requiring only one match point, finishing the game with an impressive backhand.
Defending champion, Rafael Nadal, managed to take his winning streak at Monte Carlo to 41 matches as he overcame France’s Gilles Simon in straight sets 6-3 6-4.
Simon put on a brave performance and went toe to toe with Nadal up until midway through the first set, when a spot of misfortune due to an awkward ball bounce enabled Nadal to save two break points and provided him with the mental strength to take the opening set.
From then on, Nadal took complete control and showed his class, hitting nearly double as many winners as the ninth seed and making the most of his breakpoint opportunities to ensure there was no third set decider.
The Frenchman was gracious in defeat, acknowledging the Spaniard’s prowess on clay, and goes on to face world number one, Novak Djokovic, in today’s final.