David Ferrer produced a major upset at the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday as the persistent Spaniard stunned eight-time champion Rafael Nadal 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
Ferrer, seeded sixth, handed the top seed only his third loss at the tournament a day after Nadal had won the 300th clay match of his career and the 50th at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
Ferrer came to the court with a 5-21 head-to-head deficit against his compatriot, whose form has dropped this season.
“When the opponent is doing better than you, it’s normal to lose,” said Nadal. “That’s what happened today [Friday].
“I played too short. I gave him the chance to control point almost all the time. He did much better than me, so I will just congratulate him.”
Ferrer will now face off on Saturday against Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka, who booked his place with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 win over Canadian Milos Raonic.
The win was the first on clay for Ferrer against Nadal in a decade.
“I beat Rafael on clay court 10 years ago,” said Ferrer. “But I’m happy because I am in the semi-final. Maybe this week is my best of this season.Rafa’s not a machine. Maybe he didn’t play his best tennis today [Friday], and I played very good.”
Wawrinka in control against Raonic
Wawrinka, who had a walkover in the previous round when Spain’s Nicolas Almagro pulled out with a foot injury, took control after Canadian Raonic twice lost leads in the opening set tie-breaker.
The mistakes gave an opening to Wawrinka, who took the first set on his initial opportunity and then broke to start the second as the frustrated Raonic let go of a 40-15 lead in the first game. From that point on, momentum shifted to the Swiss world number three, who broke the Canadian again for 5-2, before serving out the match in 90 minutes.
“I showed him on every point that the match will be tough for him,” said the winner. “Even in the first set he was staying with me. He was close to winning the tie-break.
“But it was a tough set for him because he had to play his best. I know it’s never easy, but I’m really happy the way I did today.”
Aisam-Bopanna beaten in last-eight
Pakistan’s Aisamul Haq Qureshi exited the Monte Carlo Masters with doubles partner Rohan Bopanna after losing out to third seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo.
The Indo-Pak Express was defeated 7-6, 7-5 at the hands of the Croatian-Brazilian pair in a match lasting an hour and 24 minutes.
Aisam and Bopanna progressed to the last-eight round by overcoming Lukasz Kubot and Robert Lindstedt in the second round of the ongoing clay event.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2014.