Djokovic looks to dethrone Nadal at Monte Carlo
World number one Novak Djokovic will be looking to win his first Monte Carlo title, having lost the finals in 2009 and 2012 to Rafael Nadal. Djokovic, who had doubts at the start of the tournament regarding his fitness, needed less than an hour to crush the hopes of Fabio Fognini of reaching the finals. The six-time Grand Slam Champion completely dominated the match with a 6-2 6-1 victory.
Djokovic broke Fognini’s opening service game and marched onto a comfortable 3-0 lead, and only on the fourth game of the set the Italian managed to get himself on the scoreboard. However, Fabio Fognini’s nervousness didn’t seem to settle as the match went on, and 26 unforced errors from the 25-year-old helped Djokovic claim the first set in 30 minutes.
The second set, Djokovic continued his momentum with a ruthless display of tennis. The Serb looked in a monstrous form as he closed out the set in 22 minutes and extending his head-to-head record against Fognini to 5-0.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal also came through his semi-final against the powerful Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga to progress with 6-3 7-6 (7-3) win.
The match that lasted an hour and 36 minutes saw 39 unforced errors from Tsonga. The 28-year-old seemed to be having difficulties adjusting to blustery winds on the centre court, as Nadal capitalised on his opponent’s frustration by breaking on the seventh game of the first set to get his nose in front at 4-3.
Nadal went on to hold on to his own service game and aggressive exchanges from the baseline handed the Spaniard the opening set.
The second set, Nadal imposed his dominance by breaking Tsonga’s serve once again. The Frenchman looked tired as he was 4-1 down before the hour mark. The crowd tried their best to encourage him to make the semi-final encounter more competitive and it seemed to work. The French player started clawing his way back by salvaging a game whilst having to save three match points on his own serve. Having prevented Nadal from capitalising on any of the match points, Tsonga’s confidence helped him to break the former World Number one’s serve, and the second set went back to being on serve. The Frenchman did well to force Nadal to a second-set tie-break, but in the end the intensity from the eight-time Monte Carlo winner was too much for Tsonga to handle as the Spaniard took the tie-break 7-3.
Nadal has now extended his record at Monte Carlo Masters to a staggering 46 consecutive victories and the “King of Clay” could set yet another record if he wins on Sunday afternoon and becomes the first ever man to win the Monte Carlo Masters for the ninth consecutive time.
Umida Ibrahimova, sports correspondent