• Nadal has close call in Monte Carlo against Dimitrov

    4/19/13 3:44 PM | Cheryl Murray
    Nadal has close call in Monte Carlo against Dimitrov Until the final game of the match, eight-time defending champion Rafael Nadal teetered on the edge of elimination, only to come through in the end.

    Rafael Nadal willed his way to a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory over promising young-gun Grigor Dimitrov.

    Nadal was his usual aggressive self in the first set of his quarterfinal match against Dimitrov. The Spaniard peppered Dimitrov with his heavy forehand, and found himself in nearly all of the Bulgarian's service games. A trio of service breaks had Nadal looking in good shape for the match.

    Dimitrov had other ideas. He kept his wits about him, as he went on the offensive in the second set. The change in tactics seemed to catch Nadal by surprise, and the former world No. 1 found himself challenged. With his confidence rattled, Nadal began to play error-filled, tentative tennis and Dimitrov was solid enough to take advantage.

    The 21-year-old secured a break and then a second insurance break to end the set and carry confidence with him into the third.

    Nadal didn't play significantly better tennis in the third than he had in the second, but the iron will he's known for kept him in the match. The No. 3 seed clawed his way to service hold after service hold.

    With the crowd holding its breath at a possible changing of the guard, Nadal pressed his advantage at 4-4. The toll of the physical match caught up with Dimitrov, as the Bulgarian started to cramp a bit. Nadal pounced on the only opportunity he had since the first set to secure a break and earn the chance to serve out the match.

    It wasn't smooth sailing for Nadal in the final game, but he relied on his experience as one of the sport's great champions to get through the game. Nadal smacked an ace on match point to snag victory from his opponent.

    Nadal will take on Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semis.

    Find the latest tennis odds at

Tell a friend »


Close call indeed!

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 4/19/13 3:53 PM

Rafa was taped up a lot on his back. Is there an injury?? His serve was way off and so many u/f errors .Not his usual game at all

sals3 , 4/19/13 3:56 PM

I didn't hear anything about an injury. I guess we'll see what he says about it in the presser.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 4:05 PM

Rafans, stop behaving as if this is not par for the co,use for Rafa matches. I guess that 7 month break has induced some amnesia in you lot. Rafa always has his fans on the edge, don't you remember even him apologizing for it?

Having said that, I think the heavy weather is not to his liking.

Vamos to the semis!

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 4:10 PM

ritb -- I think the surprise is that it happened in Monte Carlo. It's crazy, but I have to admit that in all the years I've been watching him there, I've hardly ever seen him struggle. Rome? yes. Hamburg? Assuredly. Madrid? Not real clay. :) But Monte Carlo is so conducive to his game, that you get the feeling that he's ASSURED victory. Today he wasn't, and that's surprising.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 4:14 PM

The damp cold weather there affected the ball spin of the racket of Nadal

sals3 , 4/19/13 4:21 PM

Anyone who gets a hold of the presser transcript, please post it, thanks.

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 4:22 PM

looks like it was a packed house in Monte-Carlo based on the photo!

RickyDimon , 4/19/13 4:40 PM

It was a close call but he didn't ' teeter on the edge of elimination', he never faced a match point or lost his serve during the third set.

Shireling , 4/19/13 4:45 PM

lol Ricky, they were all hiding under their seats :D

Shireling , 4/19/13 4:46 PM

^^^exactly what I am now thinking, I am like, huh? Rafa has created a monster with his insane success on clay. I mean, Dimitrov HAS taken a set off Rafa before so if look at it that way, this wasn't progress, was it? If he wants to celebrate a loss, that's his business but if I was him, I'd be concerned about the cramping, this was a 3-setter for God's sake. How is he gonna fare in a Slam? One positive for him though: his SHBH holds up better than Fed's.

I just hope that taping on Rafa's back is nothing serious.......

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 4:54 PM

Based on his form in the second and third set, I consider that teetering on the edge of elimination. I didn't say that he faced a match point.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 4:59 PM

Just saw Rafa wading into a sea of autograph hunters so he is fine. His presser is scheduled for 17h30.

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 5:03 PM

I completely and respectfully disagree with you cheryl on this.
For me, teetering on the edge of elimination is saving a match point (that's why I said it), or having to return to stay in the match. Dimitrov did seem to have the upper hand but both players were on serve on the third set and it was Nadal who got the needed break of serve.

Shireling , 4/19/13 5:05 PM

ritb - I agree that the cramping should be serious cause for concern in the Dimitrov camp. I know that playing Rafa is difficult...but a professional player shouldn't be cramping in an ordinary (meaning not 5-hour) best of 3 match.

He'll be a sitting duck in the majors if somebody pushes him to 5.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 5:06 PM

In this short interview, Rafa doesn't blame conditions. He praises Dimitrov and says: it's sport.

Augustina08 , 4/19/13 5:07 PM

shireling - fair enough. I simply felt the situation was more dire for Nadal than you did.

Augustina - as well he should. Both men were playing in the same conditions.

cherylmurray , 4/19/13 5:09 PM

Cheryl, just keeping it real that's all. I have nothing against the young man, he is a fine prospect but he puts in a show like he did today and people paper over the obvious shortcomings. He is 21, he needs to be showing Slam resilience by now otherwise, please...........

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 5:15 PM

I'd rather wish it weren't the case but dire situations are Rafa's backyard.

Shireling , 4/19/13 5:19 PM

Rafa's presser here 4/19/Monte-Carlo-2013-Friday-Nadal-Interview.aspx

nadline , 4/19/13 5:28 PM

There is no mention of back injury in the interview.

nadline , 4/19/13 5:31 PM

I don't think Rafa is faking it when he doesn't wallow in all the King of Clay stuff because he knows he has got to play hard to win the matches and he knows it's never that easy and never a foregone conclusion. Of course he knows he is the best on clay but that doesn't guarantee that he will win every match until he retires.

He doesn't even know all the stats himself and whilst he would enjoy his record wins, I don't think he ever goes into a tournament having made room for his next trophy on the shelf.

nadline , 4/19/13 5:38 PM

Forgot to say this about Dimitrov: I like his on court demeanor. He appeared professional, respectful and overall nice guy. Good for the game.

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 5:42 PM

Nadal News ?@nadalnews 15m

"Wouldn't talk much about tape on his back beyond standard pains after so long away from the tour"

nadline , 4/19/13 5:49 PM

Caroline Bouchard has confirmed that nadal has a back injury. Apparently he doesnt want to talk about it though.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 6:00 PM

Nadal News ?@nadalnews 36m
Rafa RE the semi: "If I'm able to play as I play at the first set, I'm going to have my chance, sure. If not, I going to be in a problem."

nadline , 4/19/13 6:20 PM

Hope it's nothing serious and he keeps his counsel, let people talk about Djokovic's injury instead

rafaisthebest , 4/19/13 6:21 PM

Oh gosh, WTF?!!!! What next!!!

Monalysa , 4/19/13 6:22 PM

Rafa looks relaxed in his interview, I think this back thing is being blown out of all proportions.

CarolB hardly confirmed anything; her comments are based on Rafa saying he is tired of talking about his injuries but saying it's just standard back pains after being away from the tour for so long.

nadline , 4/19/13 6:25 PM

Did Rafa ever have a back injury in his career? Never heard about it yet

sanju , 4/19/13 6:27 PM

Nadal said he needed 2 weeks after Indian Wells to get treatment for knee. Says he lacks training so body suffering. But we'll fight anyway.

Carole Bouchard ?@carole_bouchard

willmw101 , 4/19/13 6:35 PM

Djokos draw finally panned out to be a joke. Instead of Delpo, Berdy..he gets Niemen,

sanju , 4/19/13 6:40 PM

Rafa confirms something is going on w/ his back but refuses to give details b/c has enough of medias talking bout injuries. @carole_bouchard

sanju , 4/19/13 6:41 PM

djokovic definitely favorite for monte carlo now.

willmw101 , 4/19/13 6:41 PM

So now from knee to back..injurys favourite our Rafa

sanju , 4/19/13 6:45 PM

You can see Rafa's taped back from 19:00 to 20:00 in this video:

Nadal vs Dimitrov - Masters MONTECARLO 2013 (QF) - Part2 Full Match HD tw

Augustina08 , 4/19/13 6:48 PM

Rafael Nadal's interview after his victory in QF in Monte Carlo 2013 (in Spanish):

Translation (partly, made not by me): "They ask him why in all the previous matches and this one as well he has played the great 1st set but then in the 2nd set he seemed to struggle. Rafa says he played a great 1st set, because he did everything right. He sees logical the fact that he is struggling in the 2nd set, because he didn't play for months, then he played for one month and stopped for another. He hopes that within the time, he will be better little by little. He says he couldn't practice hard last month but the matches like the one today help him to get in shape under pressure again. He says he hopes tomorrow he can play a great 1st set like today and keep the pace for the 2nd."

Augustina08 , 4/19/13 6:52 PM

I recorded the match, but happened to get up briefly and checked the score. At that point Rafa had won the first set 6-2 and they were just starting the second set. I remember thinking that it was too easy, because I thought that Dimitrov could be trouble.

Rafa isn't match ready and a guy like Dimitrov could just play great tennis and give Rafa a challenge. I am trying to catch up on the comments, but it appears that Rafa didn't play great tennis and Dimitrov was able to take a set and then it was a tight third set.

I read about his back being taped on vb. That is concerning. But things like this seem to happen when Rafa is away for a period of time. I don't know if my recording got the whole match, but I am going to watch it and then post my thoughts.

Nativenewyorker , 4/19/13 7:27 PM

Is this match similar to the Gulbis one in IW? Gulbis was on fire most of he match, played better overall but Rafa got the win in the end

sanju , 4/19/13 7:31 PM

Quotes (translated not by me):
Question. "Bandages were seen in your lower back at the end of the game..."

Rafa: "Yes...( he hesitates, then sighs ). Yes, there is something, but I do not want people talking about it. After a break it's normal to have back, shoulder or elbow problems. I haven't had enough time to practice. After Indian Wells, I did not play for two weeks, because I still had to undergo treatment for my knee. The body needs to adapt to this new playing intensity."

Augustina08 , 4/19/13 7:41 PM

Sure enough I only got the first two sets on my recording. So now I'm going to have to wait for the replay later today. I want to see it for myself. I hope the back injury isn't serious.


That's why I want to see this match for myself. I am wondering if it is like that match in 2010 at Rome, where Gulbis came out playing great tennis and Rafa just didn't have it that day.

I don't think it's going to get easier for Rafa to keep up his consecutive wins streak at MC. I think even Rafa knows that. It's a testament to his will to win that he managed to get it done. But he is going to be challenged and maybe in a way that we have not seen.

Nativenewyorker , 4/19/13 7:58 PM

NNY..please kep us posted on Rafas back..what is this something that has happened

sanju , 4/19/13 8:05 PM

I get the feeling from Rafa's comments that it is not too serious. I have seen a number of players, including Novak, with bandages but pple never really ask about it. I agree with Rafa not to talk about the bandage bcos it could become very distracting. The mind can be a very powerful thing.........the more pple start talking about his back the more Rafa might pay attention to it. I am sure Rafa will get his trainers to help him get the back in better shape for his match with Tsonag who Rafa knows will be a stern test.

And lets be reminded that Rafa has been on tour for a long time, he has won 11 GSlams and over 20 Masters shields...............................he knows whats best for his health and his game! Looking forward to his match with permitting Rafa should pull through!!


Monalysa , 4/19/13 8:15 PM

Monaco Weather
10-Day Forecast

Augustina08 , 4/19/13 9:10 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

Unibet Mobile prematch,live betting

Unibet Mobile betting Unibet Mobile betting

Scan QR code to access Unibet mobile.
Bet on Sports wherever you are and whenever you like, with Unibet's quick and simple mobile client you can place bets, check results and see live odds.
 For more info about QR codes & scanners click here.

ATP Calendar


Recommend Tennistalk

Follow us

Follow Tennistalk on Facebook Follow Tennistalk on Twitter

Tell a friend

Your name:

Friend's name:

Friend's email:

Other tennis links