Dimitrov no match for Nadal on clay

Rafael Nadal

If his form in Monte Carlo is anything to go by, Rafael Nadal will once again be a serious force to be reckoned with at Roland Garros next month.

Plagued by injury troubles in recent months, the jury has been out on Nadal since his return to the fold, with some fearing that his troubles weren’t quite behind him.

But the Spaniard appears to have erased any doubts over his form at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters.

After straight sets wins over Aljaz Bedene and Karen Khachanov, Nadal was ruthless in dispatching talented clay court player Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2.

It was hoped Grigor Dimitrov might offer more resistance in Saturday’s semi-finals, but the end result was another straight sets win for Nadal, as he dispatched the World No 5 6-4, 6-1 in just over 90 minutes to book his place in the final.

The initial signs for Dimitrov were at least somewhat encouraging. After going down a break early, the Bulgarian hit back with a break of his own to get back on level terms.

But it only delayed the inevitable. Nadal piled on the pressure in game 10 to earn two set points on Dimitrov’s serve, snatching the second to go a set up.

The second set was a one-sided affair, as Nadal broke in the second and fourth games to race to a 5-0 lead, with match point following shortly after.

Nadal will play Kei Nishikori in Sunday’s final after the Japanese world number 36 came from a set down to beat Germany’s Alexander Zverev 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second semi-final.

Nishikori is yet to win a Masters title in three previous final appearances, including one against Nadal in Madrid four years ago.