• Nadal holds off Tsonga, Djokovic next

    4/20/13 5:15 PM | Kelli DeMario
    Nadal holds off Tsonga, Djokovic next Eight-time defending champion Rafael Nadal is through to the championship final in Monte-Carlo, having held on to oust World No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Spaniard will face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for the title.

    World No. 5 Rafael Nadal advanced to the final match at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, having upended World No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets. The 26-year-old Spaniard converted four of 10 break points through an hour and 37 minutes of play.

    After winning the opening set, Nadal built a 5-1 advantage in the second set. Tsonga rallied to 3-5, saving a trio of match points. On serve at 5-6, the Frenchman saved a fourth match point for Nadal, who erred on the backhand wing. The Spaniard recovered during the ensuing tie-break, winning four consecutive points to close 6-3, 7-6(3).

    "I always try to be aggressive when I play him," Tsonga explained. "It's the only way for me. If I stay back, there's no way I can win. So I tried to do that. It is better to make it difficult for him like I did today in the end because then I can think maybe next time, if the conditions are better, I might do better.

    "It's been a very good tournament because in the beginning of this season I had ups and downs, so now I feel I have a good rhythm and I'm on a roll. I really feel eager to practice a lot. It's the best time of the year for me."

    Nadal completed the semifinal effort with three aces and 79% of his first serves made. He moves on to face World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Sunday's championship title match.

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Good luck, Rafa!! You seem up to the task! May the best man win.......................and that no doubt is you!!!!


Monalysa , 4/20/13 7:56 PM

According to Annabel Croft at Sky Sports, Rafa's back problem relates to an "intercostal muscle between his rib cage which was very very painful and affecting his serving". Annabel Croft got this information from Rafa's team, whom she talked to in the morning before the match with Tsonga.

Here's hoping they are giving him the right treatment and that he is not making the problem worse in his matches.

This would explain the high first serve percentage in his match today for example. He was just pushing the ball in, not much power. It would also explain those horrendous net-play stats, he is having trouble putting pressure on his rib cage.

But hey, that is the life of a tennis player, playing with niggles.

Vamos Rafa!

rafaisthebest , 4/20/13 8:45 PM

So, tomorrow we can expect Nole to come to the net as often as possible hitting volleys and drop shots at every conceivable opportunity to ensure Rafa's back gets worse: Rafa will respond by painting the lines to make Nole run from side to side and aim to wrong foot him whenever he can till Nole turns his ankle over again.

The player with the highest pain threshold will win. Unless, that is, Nole decides to retire during the match.

ed251137 , 4/20/13 9:08 PM

RIB..hats not good news at all if Rafa genuinely has a bac injury and cant serve his best as Novak is best returner

ed..Novak n at the net..nah..hes more comfy at baseline

sanju , 4/20/13 9:38 PM

Rafa served 80% in the match and I was assuming no back looks like was just pushing the serve..though I think he served well at times

sanju , 4/20/13 9:42 PM

Well, it they end up hurting each other in that match 2'row, then neither of them will be winning RG!!!!.............there's a chance for Roger....hehehe!!!!!!

Monalysa , 4/21/13 12:48 AM

Vamos our Rafa & the best of luck - hope you will be biting that trophy for a 9th time.

schatz , 4/21/13 2:20 AM

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

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