May 26, 2018

Japan's Nishikori wears down Zverev to set up Nadal final

22 April 2018, 01:44 | Clyde Nash

EPARafael Nadal celebrates his win over Aljaz Bedene

Rafael Nadal

The Spaniard will face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori in the showpiece in Monte Carlo as he looks to hold onto top spot in the rankings.

The Austrian didn't get on the scoreboard until the 10th game, drawing loud cheers from the crowd. I played so well this afternoon, playing very aggressive in general terms, backhand, forehand, serve.

I've said it all tournament, do not, do not pick against Nadal.

It'll be his 12 final in Monte Carlo and he'll be bidding for his 11 title in the principality. He saved one set point but Nadal was in ruthless mode and took the next chance. "Being honest, I have to recognize that". "But my goal is to rest and to try to wake up tomorrow again with the same energy and to go on court with the same mentality, try to play close to the way that I played today".

The 30-year-old, who is working with former long-time coach Marian Vajda for the first time in a year, is now ranked 13 in the world.

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So the top-ranked Nadal, a 10-time French Open champion with 75 career titles, hurried to another clay court just for forehand practice ahead of Sunday's final against Kei Nishikori, an opponent he has beaten nine times out of 11.

The way he dismantled Thiem, it appears little can stop him from doing so.

BC-TEN-Monte Carlo Masters, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 400 Nadal beats Dimitrov, 1 win from record 31st Masters titleAP Photo XVK106, XVK106, XVK101, XVK110Eds: Adds Dimitrov quotes, details on Nadal.

Nishikori is coming off a match in which he won 63 percent of his service points and 43 percent of his return points, and he managed to come back after losing the first set for the second time this tournament.

However, the Bulgarian's serve unravelled under the pressure of Nadal being a game away from the set, coughing up two double faults before Nadal hit the line with a forehand victor on his second set point.

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