PARIS, April 23 (NsNewsWire) — Rafael Nadal was one step away from his 10th ATP Monte-Carlo Masters trophy following a 6-3, 6-1 semifinal victory over No. 10 seed David Goffin on Saturday, ensuring an all-Spanish final clash with underdog Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who had never made it to the ATP 1000 Masters last four before.
With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka out, Nadal was the only top four seed remaining, but he still met some difficulty early in the matchup against Goffin, who built a 3-2 lead and 40-0 in the sixth game, before playing a 22-point game lasting over 17 minutes, reports Xinhua.
The match then saw a controversial refereeing by Belgian chair umpire Cedric Mourier, who ruled a Nadal forehand hit the line, which was clearly out from video replay.
Goffin could not challenge the decision due to the lack of Hawkeye technology on clay, and had to be denied a 4-2 lead.
Then Goffin found it hard to stop Nadal from taking the next three games. In the second set, Nadal met even less resistance.
Goffin went straight to pick up his bag instead of shaking hands with Mourier.
“I’m not against Mourier. He is a nice guy, but he made mistakes,” said Goffin.
“I’m able to start the clay-court season with a final appearance in one of the most important events of the year. It’s a very special place for me. I feel very excited about it,” commented Nadal, who targeted at being the first player in the Open Era to have won 10 tournament titles.
After eliminating top seed Murray, fifth-seeded Marin Cilic earlier in the week, Ramos-Vinolas was still on a dramatic run as he overcame host favorite Lucas Pouille 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 in two hours and 16 minutes.
Ramos-Vinolas was patient in the semifinal and targeted at his opponent’s weaker backhand, breaking the No. 11 seed for a 6-3 win in the first set.
After winning a tough second set, Pouille had to call for a medical treatment to his lower back and hips while he was 0-3 down.
It was the fourth time that the Monte-Carlo Masters final features two Spanish players, as Nadal won in 2010 and 2011 after defeating Fernando Verdasco and David Ferrer respectively.