Rafael Nadal is one step closer to a perfect 10…
The 30-year-old Spanish tennis star and defending champion beat David Goffin 6-3, 6-1 to move within one more win of a 10th Monte Carlo Masters title on Saturday.
Nadal will play 15th-seeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas in an all-Spanish final after the latter beat Lucas Pouille of France 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 in the other semifinal.
The 10th-seeded Goffin had early momentum, but it was halted by a controversial decision by chair umpire Cedric Mourier in the sixth game. Goffin was asked to replay a point after holding his serve for what would have been a 4-2 lead.
After being taken to deuce three times, Goffin finally held — or so he thought — when Nadal hit a return long. However, Mourier overruled the line judge and called it in, meaning the point had to be replayed.
Goffin could not believe it, nor could the crowd, who jeered loudly. Video replays showed it was out, but with no Hawkeye technology used on clay, the Belgian player could not challenge the call.
“All of a sudden you have a mistake like the chair umpire did, it’s really tough,” Goffin said. “When you have a mistake like this, you have to give more energy again to come back into the game. It was maybe too much.”
Goffin was incensed at what he basically called an improvised decision by Mourier to point at a mark that didn’t correspond.
“He just showed me something, I don’t know what,” Goffin said. “I saw on his face that he was nervous, he wasn’t sure.”
Goffin continued to complain to Mourier after the set. Nadal went off court for a break, and jeers filled the air when he came back on — a rarity considering he is a crowd favorite here.
After winning the second set, Nadal’s celebration was muted, and he sympathetically hugged Goffin at the net. Nadal shook Mourier’s hand, but Goffin did not and walked straight past him to pick up his bags.
“I have nothing against Cedric, he’s a very nice guy,” Goffin said. “But he makes mistakes.”
Nadal is through to his fourth final of the season. He lost the other three, two of them to Roger Federer.
The other finalist, Ramos-Vinolas, has lost his two previous matches against Nadal, has reached his first Masters final, and won only one title. Nadal is bidding for his 70th.
Ramos-Vinolas took the first set from Pouille when he broke the 11th-seeded Frenchman to love, concluding with a smash at the net.
Pouille played his best tennis in the second set, but he seemed to struggle physically in the deciding set as, trailing 3-0, he needed treatment to his lower back and hip during a changeover.