- Monte Carlo Masters
Nadal stunned by Ferrer in Monte Carlo
Rafael Nadal suffered a shock quarter-final exit at the Monte Carlo Masters as David Ferrer put in a brilliant display to beat him 7-6(1) 6-4.
Ferrer, who had one victory in his last 11 matches against Nadal before today, overcame the eight-time champion to set up a last-four encounter with Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka.
Ferrer twice squandered a break in the opening set as Nadal fought back to force a tiebreak. But the World No.1 looked out-of-sorts as his shots lacked firepower which enabled Ferrer to move in front after the set lasted an hour and 25 minutes.
Nadal then fell a break behind in the second set as Ferrer raced into a 3-1 advantage. Ferrer continued to dominate Nadal by opening a 5-2 lead, but when serving for the win he surrendered his serve and Nadal closed the gap to one game at 5-4.
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However, Ferrer was not to be denied as he fired a forehand down the line before Nadal gifted him the win when hitting the net.
This was his first loss on clay to Ferrer since 2004, and the 13-time grand slam champion said he is still trying to find his best form after a disappointing loss to Wawrinka in the Australian Open final.
"After what happened in Australia, [it] was little bit harder for me to find again the intensity, the confidence, the inside power that always I have," Nadal said. "Even if I won Rio, I played the final in Miami, you know, [this] remains something in my mind and in my game.
"The feeling on court was not the best one. I didn't play the right way. I didn't play with the right intensity with my forehand. I played too short. I give him the chance to have the control of the point almost all the time.
"It was a tough loss, all losses feel bad but especially on clay. I'm not playing well right now and I'm not happy with how I'm playing."
For Ferrer, the explanation for his win was a bit more simple. "He's not a machine, no? Sometimes he can play not so good," Ferrer said.
Roger Federer survived a scare to come through 2-6 7-6 6-1 in his quarter-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The Swiss wasted 15 straight break points and three set points in the second set, but at 6-6 in the tiebreaker, Tsonga hit a wild forehand into the net and Federer levelled the match with a volley winner.
"It was just many things went wrong at the wrong time for me: Jo playing well, me playing wrong at certain times, wrong shot selections," said Federer. "I'm happy I found the way to tough it out."
He will meet Novak Djokovic, who also recovered from a set down to beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 4-6 6-3 6-1 and keep his bid for a fifth Masters title in a row on track.
"I started very poorly. Garcia-Lopez played well and I had to work for this win," said Djokovic. "I finally started to play as I wanted in the second set."
Wawrinka booked his place in the semi-finals, where he will face Ferrer, for the second time after defeating Milos Raonic 7-6(5) 6-2.
Twice a runner-up at ATP Masters 1000 events in Rome and Madrid, Wawrinka came from 3-0 and 5-3 down in the first set tiebreak to take it 7-5. The challenge of Raonic quickly faded as Wawrinka dropped just two games in the second set to seal a straight-sets victory.