Controversy as Nadal defeats Goffin in Monte Carlo

Rafael Nadal's seemingly unstoppable march towards a 10th Monte-Carlo Masters title continued on Saturday as he defeated David Goffin 6-3, 6-1 – although the victory was marred by a moment of controversy involving the chair umpire.

Goffin was coming off an impressive victory over Novak Djokovic, and was expected to provide Nadal with a stern challenge. While it did not turn out that way, the result might have been different but for a controversial decision from chair umpire Cedric Mourier.

The initial signs had looked very promising for the Belgian. He earned two early break points in the first game of the match, and though he did not convert either of them, he did break on his next opportunity as he opened up a 3-1 lead.

Then came the moment of controversy. With Goffin on game point serving for a 4-2 lead, Mourier ruled a Nadal shot was in after examining the wrong mark in the clay. The Hawkeye system, which is not being used by officials on clay, showed the ball was long.

The decision appeared to disrupt Goffin. He battled bravely but finally relented to hand Nadal the break, and the Spaniard never looked back.

He would break again two games later for a 5-3 lead before serving out the first set in routine fashion.

The second set saw Goffin win just one game as Nadal steamrolled his way to match point courtesy of three straight breaks, sealing the result with a stunning backhand winner down the line.

The 30-year-old Nadal is now one match win away from becoming the first man in the Open Era (since April 1968) to earn 10 tournament titles.

Standing between him and that goal is countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The 15th seed has already claimed one major scalp at this tournament by beating World No 1 Andy Murray earlier in the week, and he kept his run going with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 semi-final victory over Frenchman Lucas Pouille.

The two players have only met on two previous occasions, in Barcelona in 2013 and 2015, with Nadal coming out on top on both times.

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