Nadal Beats David Goffin to Reach Monte Carlo Masters Final

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.

Rafael Nadal

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.

Ramos-Viñolas Defeats Lucas Pouille to Reach Monte Carlo Masters Final

Albert Ramos-Viñolas continues his Cinderella run in Monte Carlo…

The 29-year-old Spanish tennis player beat Lucas Pouille 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 on Saturday to reach the clay-court Monte Carlo Masters final.

Albert Ramos-Viñolas

With the sun shining and warm temperatures, the conditions were perfect for clay-court tennis on the idyllic center court perched above the glittering Mediterranean Sea.

Ramos- Viñolas took the first set when he broke the 11th-seeded Frenchman to love, concluding with a smash at the net.

Pouille missed a chance to break in the ninth game of the second set, meaning he was serving to stay in the match. After holding easily with a neat volley at the net, Pouille got the crowd going and then played his best tennis of the match.

He broke Ramos- Viñolas in the next game when the Spaniard hit a forehand long, and Pouille leveled the match on his own serve.

But he seemed to be struggling physically in the deciding set.

At 3-0 down, Pouille needed treatment to his lower back and hips for about four minutes during the changeover.

His power went after that and the inevitable conclusion happened when Pouille dropped his serve again in the seventh game.

It’s Ramos- Viñolas’ first time reaching a Masters 1000 final and has only one career title to his name.

Ramos- Viñolas, the 15th-seed, will play either defending champion Rafael Nadal or 10th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium in the final.

del Potro Upsets No. 4 Seed Stan Wawrinka at Wimbledon

Juan Martin del Potro is back and feeling alive…

The 27-year-old Argentine tennis player registered a shock second-round win to knock fourth seed Stan Wawrinka out of the men’s singles at Wimbledon.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro, a former US Open champion, secured a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 win over Wawrinka.

He’s currently ranked No. 165 in the world after missing more than two years because of injury problems.

del Potro, who is in the same half of the draw as Britain’s Andy Murray, will next play France’s 32nd seed Lucas Pouille.

del Potro reached the semifinals at the All-England Club in 2013 but the former world number four is playing in his first Grand Slam since the Australian Open in 2014 after having three wrist operations.

He struggled early on as Wawrinka claimed an early break before comfortably taking the opening set, but del Potro fought back well to take the second.

Both players broke serve twice in the opening four games of a thrilling third set, which del Potro won in a tie-break, before taking the fourth set to wrap up victory.

“It feels amazing,” del Potro told BBC Sport. “I beat one of the guys who is playing great tennis this season and I couldn’t have expected this before today.

“I enjoyed the crowd, they were incredible and I’m very happy.

“It is my second or third career now after all the injuries. I was sad for the last two years and now I am enjoying playing tennis again. I feel alive.”

Verdasco Defeats Lucas Pouille in Nastase Tiriac Trophy Final

It’s Lucky No. 7 for Fernando Verdasco

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis player claimed his seventh ATP title after beating Lucas Pouille 6-3, 6-2 on Monday in the Nastase Tiriac Trophy final.

Fernando Verdasco

It was Verdasco’s first title since 2014, while Pouille was playing in his first final.

“I’m very happy because I won this trophy,” said Verdasco. “It was a long time since I was in this position, to win a tournament or to play in a final.”

After taking the first set, Verdasco broke Pouille in the opening game of the second set and again to lead 4-1.

“Despite the loss, it was a positive week, and I hope to keep on improving in the coming weeks,” Pouille said.


The final was originally scheduled for Sunday but was postponed because of rain

Nadal Defeats Andreas Seppi to Reach Hamburg Open Final

Rafael Nadal is back in an ATP men’s final…

The 29-year-old Spanish tennis star beat Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-2 to set up a Hamburg Open final against Fabio Fognini.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal served a double-fault at match point in the seventh game before breaking serve in the next to win.

Nadal, the tournament’s top seed, is looking to extend his streak of having won at least one European clay-court title every year since 2004.

The former World No. 1 has dropped to 10th in the rankings and is playing his first tournament since losing in the second round of Wimbledon.

He won in Hamburg in 2008, the last time he played in the clay-court event.

The fourth-seeded Fognini beat qualifier Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6 (3) after saving a set point in the second set.

Nadal holds a 4-2 career edge over Fognini, the 2013 Hamburg champion.