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Nadal steamrolls Dimitrov to reach Monte Carlo quarterfinals

Sports Desk, Apr 15 (EFE).- Spain’s Rafael Nadal made quick work of a second straight opponent at the Monte-Carlo Masters, routing Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals of that French Open tune-up event.

The third-ranked Spaniard was firing on all cylinders at the start of the contest, overwhelming his Bulgarian opponent with his high energy and potent heavy-topspin forehand blasts.

Dimitrov, meanwhile, was erratic in the early going and appeared to be bothered by the wind. Accustomed to winning points with big shots from the baseline, the world No. 17 was visibly flustered at not being able to hurt the 11-time champion with his own forehand.

He also was unable to do damage with his serve, committing five doubles faults and putting just 57 percent of his first serves in play. Even when the Bulgarian landed his first serve in the box, Nadal – standing meters behind the baseline – returned the ball with interest and won more than half of those points.

The Spaniard cruised to a 5-0 lead in the first set before finally ceding a game, with the contest every bit as lopsided as Nadal’s first-round 6-1, 6-2 victory over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.

The second set followed the same script, with Nadal maintaining the same concentration and intensity and continuing to dominate the baseline rallies with his forehand.

Dimitrov, by contrast, continued to struggle with his serve and remained erratic from the baseline. Down 3-0 on the scoreboard in the second set, the Bulgarian shattered his racket by smashing it on the court.

“(I am) sorry for him. He played a bad match. That is the truth,” Nadal was quoted as saying afterward by the ATP Tour’s website. “He made a lot of mistakes. I was there. I was doing the right thing, but it is true that today was more his fault than my good tennis.”

With the victory, Nadal ran his career record against Dimitrov to 14-1 and set up a quarterfinal showdown against Russian world No. 8 Andrey Rublev, who booked his spot in the final eight with a 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-3 victory over Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.

In other round of 16 action Thursday at this ATP Tour Masters 1000 clay-court event, the United Kingdom’s Daniel Evans stunned Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, Norway’s Casper Ruud edged Spain’s Pablo Carreño Busta 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 7-5 and Greek world No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-3, 6-4.

Belgium’s David Goffin topped Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-4, 7-6 (9-7), Italy’s Fabio Fognini took down Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) and Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina eliminated Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

The Monte-Carlo Masters is a key tune-up event for the French Open, tennis’ most prestigious clay-court tournament, which has been delayed by a week due to coronavirus concerns and is now scheduled to be played from May 30 to June 13. EFE

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