Monte Carlo Masters 2021: Rafael Nadal's Upset Loss Highlights Friday Results

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 16, 2021

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain looks on during their Round 32 match against Federico Delbonis of Argentina during day four of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters at Monte-Carlo Country Club on April 14, 2021 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Andrey Rublev shocked 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Monte Carlo Masters on Friday.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dan Evans and Casper Ruud, who knocked off defending champ Fabio Fognini, were the other players to punch their tickets to the clay-court tournament's semifinals at Monte Carlo Country Club in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France.

Let's check out all of the scores from Friday's play followed by a recap of the action.

Quarterfinal Results

(6) Andrey Rublev d. (3) Rafael Nadal 6-2, 4-6, 6-2

(4) Stefanos Tsitsipas d. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5, ret.

Dan Evans d. (11) David Goffin 5-7, 6-3, 6-4

Casper Ruud d. (15) Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3

Friday Recap

Nadal's consistent dominance on clay over the past two decades make performances like he had against Rublev a rare reminder that he's still human on his favorite surface.

The 13-time French Open champion could never find a rhythm with his serve and failed to make up for it with his defense, racking up 36 unforced errors and seven double faults. Rublev took full advantage of the steady stream of mistakes.

While the sixth seed wasn't overpowering, he won 50 percent of the points on Nadal's serve and turned that into seven breaks, including three in the third set, to pick up one of the biggest wins of his career.

"I don't even know what to say. I cannot imagine being in the situation of Rafa, knowing that you are the best player on clay and you have that pressure every time," Rublev said. "I think for him it must be incredibly tough every time. I am in shock [with] the way he is playing under this pressure and that is why he is a legend."

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Un-BWEEH-lievable 🀯@AndreyRublev97 upsets childhood idol Nadal 6-2 4-6 6-2 in a thriller to reach the Monte Carlo last 4!#RolexMCMasters pic.twitter.com/auQdEcV4Gg

The Russian advanced to face Ruud in the semifinals. The 22-year-old Norwegian is on quite a roll with three straight wins over seeded opponents   No. 7 Diego Schwartzman, No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta and No. 15 Fognini.

Rudd's triumph over Fognini came down to his terrific play with his back against the wall. He saved six of the seven break points he faced and converted three breaks of his own to advance.

Rublev holds a 3-0 advantage in their prior ATP Tour meetings.

Meanwhile, Tsitsipas will benefit from a little extra rest as his quarterfinal came to a premature conclusion with Davidovich Fokina forced to withdraw after a hard-fought first set. The Spaniard originally injured his ankle/foot in the previous round against Lucas Pouille, per CNN's Ravi Ubha.

Tsitsipas has reached the semis without dropping a set.

"I am happy to be at the place where I am right now. ... I am happy with my performance today. I think I fought really hard. Even in difficult moments, I was putting out my best tennis," Tsitsipas said. "I saw he got injured in the middle of the first set, and I took advantage of it [and] tried to make him play."

The Greek will take on Evans, who narrowly escaped a three-set encounter with Dusan Lajovic in the opening round and has caught fire ever since. He's also defeated Hubert Hurkacz, who won the Miami Open earlier this month, top seed Novak Djokovic and now Goffin to earn a semifinal berth.

It was a match of missed opportunities for Goffin, who generated 17 break-point opportunities but only managed to covert two of them in the three-set loss.

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The Dream Run Continues πŸ’ͺ<br><br>British No. 1 Dan Evans follows win over Djokovic with a 5-7 6-3 6-4 win over Goffin to reach his first Masters 1000 semi-final!#RolexMCMasters pic.twitter.com/CCrAxylIMR

Tsitsipas has won both of his prior Tour matchups with Evans.

The tournament's semifinals will take place Saturday, with the championship match Sunday.