Rafael Nadal suffers shock defeat to Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo [PHOTOS, VIDEO]

The in-form Russian Andrey Rublev has pulled off a big upset today, ending Rafael Nadal’s bid for a record-extending 12th Monte Carlo title with a three-set win over our champ in the quarterfinal. Our champ lost 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the match that lasted two hours and 32 minutes.

Rublev won the first set in 38 minutes but our champ then pocketed the last four games of the 73-minute second set to level the contest. In the decider, Rublev held his nerve, breaking Rafa three times on his way to a famous win.

After the match, Rafa said:

For some reason I had problems with my serve. I don’t know understand why because I was not having problems on the practices at all. But today was one of these days that my serve was a disaster.

He played well. That’s true. He played great. He played aggressive, as I knew. Well done for him. Happy for him. He’s a great guy. Wish him all the best.

I think my backhand today was not enough well. Lots of mistakes. I was not able to open the court with my backhand then.

I’m always sad to lose here. It’s an important one for me. I missed an opportunity… but I can’t complain. The only thing I can do is go to Barcelona, keep practising and fix the things that didn’t work well.

33 comments

  1. I see only a couple of players who can beat nadal in a best of five in Paris

    djokovic
    fognini
    tsisipas
    wawrinka

    • I am afraid I must disagree with Mr. Castro’s comments below. Rafa had a bad day, which is unusual for him, but I don’t believe it has anything to do with his coaching set up or his personal life. As he said himself, he served badly, which contributed heavily to the loss. It was surprising because his serve is a much improved shot. However, I agree with fanforlife, at 34 (he will be 35 in a couple of months), we can’t reasonably expect Rafa to beat all-comers all of the time, as he used to do routinely, when he was younger. (Federer and even Djokovic sometimes lose to players these days whom they would never have lost to in their youth.) Rafa was up against a very good, in-form player yesterday, a rising star, who has played a lot of matches this year already; unlike Rafa, who has hardly played. As players age, they naturally find it harder to find their best tennis every time they step on court. Regrettably, they will have off-days. We must be realistic and adjust our expectations accordingly. Let’s hope that Rafa is able to find his best tennis in time for the French Open, as he did for last year’s French Open. Who would have predicted the trouncing he gave Djokovic in the 2020 Final? A fantastic achievement.

      • Well said….

        While I was watching Rublev/Agut I had hoped Agut would take the match…. Not only because I like him but because I thought that Rublev, considering the year he is having, would be a tougher opponent for Rafa… The young players are starting to put chinks in the armour of the top 3….It’s a natural progression and we’re seeing more often….
        I remember when Rafa was struggling 4-5 years ago… He had made it to the finals of many matches and couldn’t close it out… Rafa at 50% was still beating most of the field. That is no longer the case.

        Barring any physical challenges the day of this match against Rublev….I’m chalking Rafa’s loss to having just a crappy off day. His serve failed him along with the rest of his game.

        As Rafa says before each match…. In order to win he needs to bring his best….

        Here’s looking forward towards Barcelona….

        VAMOS RAFA

  2. deserve win for rublev. I thought that rafa didnt played well. He served poorly 7 double faults his shots were not deep enough and had no initiative also didnt came a lot to the net.

    When he won the second set i thought that was the turning point but he didnt start well just like the first and second set.

    I am not concerned about the french open I am convinced if nadal plays rublev in paris he will win easily in three sets. Let me remind you last year he lost against shwarzmann in Rome and beat him easily in three sets in Paris.

    Nadal won this tournament 11 times. Nadal will not be able to win all of them just like in the old days because he is not that young anymore. The young generation will have more chances to beat djokovic and nadal in best of three matches but not best of five. We have to accept that at this age its all about winning majors.

    And personally for me I dont like this tournament. The italian open in Rome is my favorite clay court tournament.

    Nadal has a lot of work to be more dominant on his serving games working on his returns and shots attack more be less defensive and coming more to the net

  3. already for some years Federer has had these matches there he unexpectedly looses. Now we see the same for rafa and also to a lesser degree from Djokovic. I think that is a natural consequence of the players getting older. I still think rafa can win RG but i think unstability will be more common in the future.

  4. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Rafa has won 11 MC titles. At this stage in his career, the only tournament that matters in the clay season is the French open. That’s it. Everything else is a warm up and while I would be happy if he wins one the prep for RG is more important.

  5. After he won the second set, I really thought he’d go on and win it, and, with all due respect to Casper Ruud, it looked like a comfortable semi-final draw, but it’s his first tour match for 2 1/2 months and he’s bound to be rusty.

  6. I’m sad for Rafa, this tournament means so much to him and his career. I don’t know why he chose to serve first, maybe Andrey would have been nervous and Rafa could have broken straight away? Unfortunately it was a downward spiral from there.

    Andrey was able to control too many points, with Rafa not hitting deep enough and his own ability to consistently go to Rafa’s backhand and prevent Rafa from using his forehand. It was a good and well-executed tactic, as when Rafa was able to hit a forehand or two, he was more successful.

    I hope that Rafa is just lacking match practice, as his first two matches were too easy and then he met one of the most in-form players, no chance to gradually build up his form.

    Until yesterday I wouldn’t have given Andrey a chance against Rafa, but he was very good against RBA, and I thought that maybe if Rafa had a bad day, he might win. And that’s what happened as I see it, I don’t think it’s that much of a shock to be honest.

    I wish Rafa could have played better, it really hurt to see him being so exasperated with his performance but good to see he hasn’t lost that incredible fighting spirit. Nice to see the good sportsmanship from his team at the end of the match as well (more than can be said for one of the commenters below).

    Barcelona draw is tomorrow. Onwards and upwards.

    • He is past his peak. He is not going to dominate clay events like he used to. Look no further than 2018, 2019, 2020 (his toughest year imo) when he lost early in many events but always delivered at the French. I hope he gets ready for paris and honestly at this point in his career, it’s all about the slams. Period. Your expectations are unrealistic and frankly laughable.

  7. It wasn’t Rafa’s day. Andrey was a better player today, congratulations to him!👏
    As long as Rafa is healthy, Barcelona Open is around the corner.
    Vamos Rafa!💪❤️

  8. Rublev is match ready. Keep fighting and stay healthy. All the best👏💪🤛👍🎾🍀❤️

  9. Rafa not on form today and yet fought so hard to win the second set. Only his third match since the AO so hope he will use it to get match fit, I’m sad for him but Rublev deserved his victory. Keep faith in our great champion. Rafa will be okay.

  10. I disagree with Gonzalez, he will win Rome, MadriM and obviously French belongs to him, dont blame his team, this is the first match sins January, vamos. Rafa we still love u no matter how ppl think of u, u still the King heaven’s knows

  11. Who’s down there wishing Rublev bad luck hahaha

    I woke up sick today (not C19, already had that) and Rublev has only added to my troubles!

    Saw most of the match and it seems Rublev was SWITCHED ON from the get go. Rafa could not get into a rhythm.

    Of course our champ made it worth our while with the second set fightback, but this match was for Rublev. Meh, it happens. This does not even warrant running for the hills.

    Rafa has won this trophy how many times? It’s okay, he can do without this one and keep his eyes on the ultimate prize, RG! On the way he could pick up Rome or Madrid if he wants.

    Anyway, Rafa should peak at the right time for RG. I liked what I saw this week after the long break, and he will build on that.

  12. I’m proud of Rafa for fighting back after that disaster of a first set. I hope there is no physical issue such as with his back.

    I had been worried that the third round is too early for Rafa to face an opponent as strong as Rublev given Rafa’s long lay off. Rafa would have been sharper if he had better opponents in rounds one and two but that would not have been enough time if Rafa’s serve is really in that bad of shape. His serve has been a real weapon for the last few years but it was not present today.

    I don’t think that the problem is one of distractions as someone wrote. I think its just a matter of a long lay off and perhaps over confidence in his serve. Carlos Moya will get to work and fix that.

    And give Rublev some credit. As mentioned on the Tennis Channel he won more matches in 2020 than anyone else and he’s played well in 2021.

    I won’t make any predictions for the rest of the clay season except to say that Rafa will play better than he did today.

  13. Rublev was phenomenal and Rafa just not good enough when it mattered though he was competetive. Well played Rublev, tough luck rafa but let’s not forget what happened in MC 2019. Rafa did recover but he needs some more match play. But also, time waits for no one. That being said, rafa will get back to the drawing board. Let’s not forget rome 2020 as well.

  14. It was a bad day go too the next vamosssssss next tournament Rafa we are with you 💪🎾👍😘🇺🇸

    • Please help me understand what burdens he had a few years ago, were lifted, but now new burdens are back.

  15. Rafael was not prepared, again. It was not because Andrey plaid well Just look Rafael’s box and you will notice that Rafael was completely distracted. His coach Carlos Moyá was there, but what can Carlos do before so much distraction? It happened just like in Australian Open but this time Rafael looked in better shape. And this is not Rafael’s last lost: Rafael will not win Roma, not Madrid, and not Roland-Garros; what is happening will be very costly to Rafael. Rafael must take control of his life something I have strong doubts since, obviously, his environment is not healthy. He is going through a personal life identity just like a few years ago that does not allow him to have control. Too much distraction. Too heavy load on his shoulders. Very sad.

    • You sound so negative. Assuming that he had personal problems. Please stop. He wasn’t on his game and has had a mind lay off. Rublev deserved to win but Rafa will use this as a tough practice. He will bounce back. Let’s just support and stop making assumptions about what you know nothing about. You are a prophet of doom.

    • I feel sorry for you. It must be very lonely living in your house of negativity. Sad. I support Rafa, his team and family.

    • WOW! Never met a glass-empty person until today. And such an unlikely place to meet one – at a Rafael Nadal Fans website..

      There is constructive criticism and there’s the other kind which I won’t mention because I don’t want to give it any power at all.

      Life is not about constantly winning. I concede, mistakes can be made. But what you do and learn after a mistake is what counts. Great achievers like Rafa did not get to where he is now without such defeats. It is what you do after that counts!

      Rafa, whatever you do, skip the Gonzalo Castro comments.

      There is the power of the WORD. One should be careful what one utters.

      I’ve got 3 sons. And when they speak negatively, like a good witch, I cancel, neutralize the comment lest it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And give them a telling-off like I’vedoe just then.

      GO RAFA! You’ll do your absolute BEST the rest of the Clay Season!

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