Rafael Nadal has suffered a shock defeat in the quarter-final at Monte-Carlo, losing to Andrey Rublev 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
Nadal, known as the King of Clay, has won the Monte-Carlo Masters eleven times, and although he entered the tournament seeded third, he was the clear favourite to lift the title once again after world number one Novak Djokovic lost yesterday.
Rublev, meanwhile, is known more for his hard court prowess and has lost both matches against Nadal so far in their head-to-head clashes.
However, Nadal, for once, wasn't the dominant force, and an impressive display by the Russian applied non-stop pressure while the Spaniard made an unusual amount of unforced errors and looked frustrated throughout the match.
“When you face a great player like him and you don’t play well, you should lose, no? That’s easy to analyse," said Nadal in his post-match conference.
"For some reason I had problems with my serve. I don’t know why because I was not having problems in the practices at all.
"But today was one of these days that my serve was a disaster. I fought. That’s the positive thing.
“I’m always sad to lose here, of course, because it’s an important one for me. I missed an opportunity to start the clay-court season in the right way. But that’s it. I can’t complain.
"The only thing that I can do is go to Barcelona and keep practising, try to fix the things that didn’t work well.”
"I had reasons to complain, but I didn't. I only shouted after missing a backhand, I was tired of making unforced errors. It was a day to forget. Playing bad and doing it against a top player is a killer cocktail."
Rublev’s win means that we are guaranteed a new Masters champion this weekend, with Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Dan Evans the other players in the mix.
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