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Monte Carlo Rolex Masters 2013: Rafael Nadal vs. Grigor Dimitrov QF Preview

By Soumojit Basu    + Follow

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Keywords: Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters | Rafael-Nadal | Grigor-Dimitrov
Monte Carlo Rolex Masters 2013: Rafael Nadal vs. Grigor Dimitrov QF Preview
Rafael Nadal has begun the defense of his Rolex Monte Carlo Masters in belligerent mood, dismissing Marinko Matosevic and Philipp Kohlschreiber in the earlier rounds with little fuss. The Spaniard is chasing his 9th straight title at the historic Monte Carlo Country Club, something no tennis player in the open era has ever managed to do. In the quarters he will face the unseeded Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal has kick-started his hunt for title no.37 on clay in the Principality in fine fashion. In his two matches in Monte Carlo, the Spaniard has been completely dominant and has not shown any ill effects from his excursions on North American hard courts.  His streak in this event is now extended to 44 matches and counting, having last tasted defeat at the hands of Guillermo Coria in 2003. Since then, Nadal has usurped Coria as the player to beat on this surface, breaking all sorts of records along the way.

This week, Nadal has emphasized time and again, a feeling of ‘privilege’ to be competing again, a clear reference harking back to the past year where injuries kept the defending champion from competing for seven months. .

"I feel more relaxed, yes. I had some uneasy moments during the past year. Now I'm back on the tour. Just being here is good news. And winning matches, I say every day, but winning every match is very important to me today. Every time I have the chance to go on court and play well, feel competitive, is a really good feeling."

Nadal’s quarter-final opponent will be an unseeded Bulgarian, Grigor Dimitrov. The 21 year old Dimitrov has shot up the rankings and falls firmly in the ‘emerging’ talents category. In Monaco, Dimitrov has followed up his win over 8th seeded Janko Tipsarevic by beating Florian Mayer in the third round and in the process he’s reached his first ATP 1000 Masters series quarter-final, all of this without dropping a set.

After his win over Mayer, Dimitrov said: "Really looking forward to that match tomorrow. Even for now I'm very excited. Hopefully I can perform at my best. It's going to be a great match. I'm feeling quite good coming on court with [the top players]. I feel also physically I'm ready to kind of hang with them more as the match goes on.”

Dimitrov would love to make his first ATP 1000 semi-final but his task could hardly be tougher, as Nadal appears to be in the kind of ominous form that has characterized his domination on clay. The pair has met once on tour, Nadal coming up trumps in three sets on the hard-courts in Rotterdam in 2009.

Nadal’s exploits on clay have made things a little unfair for the Spaniard:  a loss will etch his vanquisher’s name in Tennis folklore but a win is merely treated as a statistic, which in this case would simply read ‘No. 45’.

Pick: Nadal in two.

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