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David Ferrer upsets Rafael Nadal in quarterfinals of Monte Carlo Masters

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David Ferrer

David Ferrer improved to 2-17 on clay against Rafael Nadal. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

David Ferrer stunned eight-time champion Rafael Nadal 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday, his first victory over his Spanish countryman on clay in 10 years.

Ferrer entered having lost 17 consecutive matches on clay against Nadal. In fact, Ferrer’s only victory on the surface came in their first career meeting, in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2004.

Ferrer’s blunt assessment before the match was that in order to win he needed to play his best and benefit from an off day from Nadal, who had won 30 clay matches in a row. That’s precisely what happened. Both men struck 24 winners, but Nadal hit 44 unforced errors compared to Ferrer’s 28 and played some of his worst tennis at the most inopportune times, such as in the tiebreaker that capped an 85-minute first set. Ferrer broke twice in the second set for a 5-2 lead and held on after Nadal got one break back and reached 30-30 when Ferrer served for the match at 5-4.

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2014
  • Rafael Nadal not pleased about receiving a time violation in Monte Carlo

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    (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

    Rafael Nadal fell behind early in the first set, but rallied to win 6-4, 6-1. (Julian Finney/Getty Images)

    Rafael Nadal was not happy after receiving a time violation during his second-round match at the Monte Carlo Masters and the eight-time Monte Carlo champion let chair umpire Pascal Maria know it.

    Nadal had won the first set and was up 4-0 on Teymuraz Gabashvili when the two played one of the best points of the mach at 30-all;  it ended with a Gabashvili hitting a winner into the open court after a 24-shot rally. Nadal took his time to catch his breath before serving down break point, and Maria issued Nadal his second time violation of the match, resulting in the loss of a first serve. Gabashvili then broke Nadal.

    As Nadal walked back to his bench he wagged his finger at the chair umpire and proceeded to tell him he was wrong to give him the violation at that point in the match (players are allowed 25 seconds between points) because the two had just played a long rally.

    “Put the watch there [pointing on court] and then you don’t have to do nothing, Pascal,” Nadal said, implying the chair umpire needed to use his discretion as opposed to just count the seconds on the clock.

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • Photos: Rafael Nadal has a horrible poker face

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    Rafael Nadal could not outwit No. 1 female poker player Vanessa Selbst. (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

    For the last two years, Rafael Nadal has been honing his poker game as an ambassador for PokerStars — one of the stranger sponsorship pairings in tennis — and he even won an exhibition tournament in Prague last December.

    But Nadal was no match in a heads-up game against the world-No. 1 female poker player Vanessa Selbst in Monte Carlo last week. It’s all for a good cause though, as 5,000 Euros were donated to charity for the event.

    Nadal playing poker is always an amusing thought given how demonstrative and fired up he gets on the tennis court. Put it this way: What in the world does Rafael Nadal’s poker face look like?

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  • Published On Apr 15, 2014
  • Photos: Rafael Nadal is on a boat in Monte Carlo

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    Rafael Nadal enjoys his boating adventure. ( Julian Finney/Getty Images)

    Rafael Nadal is doing his best to relax before he begins his bid for a ninth title at the Monte Carlo Masters this week, and what better way for an island guy to enjoy himself than on a boat? Nadal visited the Monte Carlo Yacht Club and rode along with the crew of the Tuiga as it sailed around the harbor.

    “It was a wonderful way to enjoy an afternoon,” Nadal said. “It was a special experience for me. I am from an island, so the sea, the sails and everything involved means a lot to me… I don’t go sailing very often. I go more often on a motor boat. I don’t have much time at the moment for sailing, maybe in the future. I spend a lot of time on the sea when I’m at home, especially in the summer. I live in front of the sea and the port is three minutes from my home.”

    More photos from Rafa’s day at the harbor below.

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  • Published On Apr 14, 2014
  • Watch List: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic head to Monte Carlo Masters

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    After losing last year, Rafael Nadal will look to win his ninth crown at the Monte Carlo Masters. (David Callow/SI)

    After losing last year, Rafael Nadal will look to win his ninth crown at the Monte Carlo Masters. (David Callow/SI)

    The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. This week, the big names on the ATP Tour kick off the European clay season in Monte Carlo, while the women spread out all over the globe for Fed Cup. 

    Monte Carlo Masters

    [Complete draw]

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  • Published On Apr 13, 2014
  • Early-season ATP winners and losers

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    Novak Djokovic

    Novak Djokovic completed the Indian Wells/Miami double for the second time. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    Before the clay-court season heats up, Beyond The Baseline is taking stock of the year in tennis so far. Here’s a look at the ATP Tour winners and losers from the first three months. Click here for the WTA Tour breakdown.

    Winners

    Stanislas Wawrinka: Wawrinka failed the best he’s ever failed — and, really, better than we ever thought he would fail — at the Australian Open, where he won his first major title and became the first player to beat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam tournament. His vengeful 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7 victory over Djokovic, the three-time defending champion, in the quarterfinals was his signature win of the season and left no doubt that Wawrinka can continue to be a force on tour as long as he stays healthy and motivated. (The 29-year-old Swiss hasn’t been at his best since Melbourne, though.) Wawrinka also won the season-opening Chennai Open, climbed to No. 3 to supplant Roger Federer as the Swiss No. 1 and teamed with Federer to lead Switzerland into the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time in 11 years.

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  • Published On Apr 08, 2014
  • Tennis players who appeared on Late Show with David Letterman

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    Serena Williams appeared on David Letterman after winning gold in both the singles and doubles tournament at the London Olympics. (Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)

    Serena Williams appeared on David Letterman after winning gold in both the singles and doubles tournament at the London Olympics. (Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)

    Late-night talk-show host David Letterman has announced that he will retire in 2015 after 32 years. A number of tennis players have appeared on his New York-based show, which was an easy press stop before and after the U.S. Open. Through Letterman, several stars, both domestic and foreign, got an opportunity to introduce themselves to an American audience.

    Here are some of our favorite interview moments:

    Serena Williams

    Williams was on Late Show four times, once as a Top 10 list presenter and three times as an interviewee. But her most memorable appearance came in 2009. Let’s just say, Letterman really liked her dress.

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  • Published On Apr 07, 2014
  • Watch: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal play memorable Sony Open match point

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    Novak Djokovic needed only one hour and 23 minutes on Sunday to beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 and win his fourth Sony Open title. The two saved their best for last, though, playing the point of the day on Djokovic’s first match point.

    The 28-shot rally featured some jabs and haymakers from the baseline until Nadal followed a short ball into the net. Djokovic was able to flick a backhand reply to stay in the point and both men ended up at the net, exchanging reflex volleys until it was Djokovic who found the open court. Cue the “fall to the floor” celebration of his 18th ATP Masters 1000 crown.


  • Published On Mar 30, 2014
  • Novak Djokovic rolls over Rafael Nadal to win fourth Sony Open title

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    Novak Djokovic collapses after winning matchpoint against Rafael Nadal. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his fourth Sony Open title. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

    The King of Hard Courts is back.

    No. 2 Novak Djokovic put together a clinic on Sunday, rolling past No. 1 Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 to win his fourth Sony Open title. Djokovic joins Roger Federer as the only men to win Indian Wells and Miami in the same season twice; the Serb also accomplished the feat during his incredible 2011 season. Nadal, who fell to 0-4 in Sony Open finals, has lost three consecutive matches to Djokovic since beating him at the U.S. Open last fall.

    ”I tried everything,” Nadal said. “I tried my best. It was not enough. The opponent was just better than me, and when the opponent is better, he’s better.”

    Nadal’s only chance to gain the advantage came just five points into the match, when he earned his only break point in Djokovic’s first service game. The Serb saved it and held, and then he flat-out ran away with the match. It was a tactically perfect match from Djokovic, who won Indian Wells and Miami without coach Boris Becker in his box, rejoined instead by his longtime coach, Marian Vajda.

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  • Published On Mar 30, 2014
  • An ATP first: Semifinals hit with two walkovers on a rough day at Sony Open

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    A pair of semifinal withdrawals means Novak Djokovic will once again lock horns with Rafael Nadal. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

    A pair of semifinal withdrawals means Novak Djokovic will once again lock horns with Rafael Nadal. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

    Spare a thought for the ticket-toting fans at the Sony Open on Friday. The tournament was hit with an unprecedented pair of withdrawals in the men’s semifinals, which gave No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic walkovers into Sunday’s final.

    The day began with news that Kei Nishikori, on the heels of two top-five wins over Roger Federer and David Ferrer, was forced to withdraw from his semifinal against Djokovic with a left groin injury. The news stung even more given Nishikori’s fantastic effort to oust Federer in the quarterfinals, coming back from a set and break down to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 to advance to his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal since the 2011 Shanghai Masters. It also recalled the long-running joke about “The Federer Curse”:

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  • Published On Mar 28, 2014


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