(AFP) – Rafael Nadal crushed fifth seed Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2 to romp into the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals on Friday as he stepped up his bid for an 11th title in style.
A tight match had been anticipated, but Rafa produced one of the most dominant wins of his career as Thiem fell to pieces in the Monaco sunshine.
The Austrian didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 10th game, drawing ironic cheers from the crowd.
But it was a ruthless performance from the 16-time Grand Slam champion, who has to successfully defend the title this week to remain ahead of Roger Federer at the top of the world rankings.
Rafa will face Grigor Dimitrov in the last four on Saturday, but the Bulgarian will need a massive improvement from his win over David Goffin if he’s to stand a chance against the 10-time champion.
Rafa started as if he knew Thiem was a potential threat, holding to love before breaking the 24-year-old at the first time of asking.
Thiem was not serving at the same level he managed in his win over two-time champion Novak Djokovic on Thursday, and although he staved off five break points in game four, he dumped a forehand into the net to gift Nadal a 4-0 lead.
Thiem was struggling, but Rafa barely missed a shot in a near-perfect opening set that he wrapped up with another strong return.
It was the 12th time Rafa had whitewashed a set against a top-10 player, and he got the second set underway with another love hold.
Thiem was wilting in the sweltering conditions and under the pressure from the other side of the net, and then back-to-back miscued forehands saw him lose an eighth straight game.
The Austrian, a two-time French Open semi-finalist, finally held his serve to trail 3-1 and deny Rafa the first 6-0, 6-0 victory of his career on the ATP Tour.
The 31-year-old brought up match point with a searing forehand winner, and finished off his dispirited opponent as Thiem fired a backhand into the net.
Rafa soooooooooo well done in your match against Dominic.
All the best for your game against Grigor too.
Love and prayers for today.s match,
Rafa congrats in your wing the best player on Clay the king .good luck on your next much .we love you 😍🎾🎾🎾🎾👍👍👍👍❤️❤️❤️❤️🏸🏸🏸🏸🎾
Vamos king . I am speechless !!!
Brilliant x 25 👌👌👌👌👍👍👍👍👍
After his presser, Rafa was asked about Andy. Nothing to report but what follows is an indication of the respect and fondness these two champions have for each other.
Rafa saw Andy in Melbourne and spoke to him two weeks ago. He refused to discuss their conversation because it wouldn’t be fair to Andy nor would Rafa feel comfortable doing that.
Andy asked Rafa some questions and Rafa told Andy what worked for him during his many injury-caused absences from the tour.
Rafa went on to say it’s never easy returning but if you are healthy, the tennis is there. If Andy is healthy, he will return. After a long period [away], he will not win in the first week but he will not have forgotten how to play tennis. [The Telegraph]
It’s curious that Andy would ask Rafa about a possible solution because Rafa never had a degenerative hip problem, as far as I know. And it is not public knowledge what type of operation Andy had. I think Andy just needed to talk to a friend who has had so many injuries himself. Sweet Rafa.
All the best to Andy.
RAFA ROCKS THE BEDSIDE MANNER
a fantastic great play today Rafa! good luck to the next one…win win win👏👏👏💪💪💪🍀🍀🍀
Enhorabuena!!! K t voy a decir…si lo tuyo no tiene palabras…
Como siguas asi jugando a ese nivel…acortando puntos y partidos..k eso lo va agradecer tu cuerpo…hay Rafa para tiempo…
M alegro…bastante he sufrido cuando te he visto mal…siempre contigo!!!!!
I wonder if Dominic expected a Tsunami Nadal. I hoped for a two-set win by Rafa but this was brutal; 6-0, 6-2. OUCH!
WELCOME TO THE SEMI-FINALS RAFA
Congrats on Rafa making it through to the semi finals. This is what I’ve been waiting for, Rafa to come back from his injuries and mark his place as the KING OF CLAY.
I am confident that he will win this title for sure now and all the other clay tournaments too.
Definitely we will all be rooting for you.
Felicidades Rafa eres el mejor estoy segura que nos daras la satisfaccion de ver el 11 en Monte Carlos eres Super man. VAMOS RAFA
It’s such a pleasure to watch Rafa play on clay. What a performance he put on! His forehand is always lethal, now his backhand is also fearsome! Congratulations to Rafa, his team, and his millions of fans! Good luck tomorrow!
Lol!!! His biggest threat on clay almost got double bagled lol!!!! Give him the French Open trophy now lol!!!!
See why I wanted Chokovic in the QF’s?!? I knew this was going to happen. I wanted it to happen to Chokovic lol…. but he’s too wussy.
Congrats on a decisive win-great to see you return to play in such convincing form💪👍👊👏❣️
******* LOVE THE EXPRESSIVE PHOTOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) ESPECIALLY THE ONE SHOWING A HINT OF YOUR TIGHT ABS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) KEEP SMILING : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) : )
VAMOS SWEETHEART !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) ENJOY EVERYTHING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) 🙂 🙂 XXOXOXOXOXO
Super Rafa !
What a match. Rafa looked fantastic today, Thiem didn‘t have any chance. Good luck for tomorrow against Dimitrov. Vamos Rafa <3
He doesn’t need luck against baby Gasquet. The only time Baby Gasquet Won was when Rafa was hurt 2016 with wrist injury and on indoor hard court lol… so really Rafa is like 15-0 or something like that against him.