Monte-Carlo 2010 Semi Final Previews

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The 2010 Monte Carlo Open main draw singles matches are now up to the semi finals. Today for the 3rd day in a row OCA will update the scores on this post as they occur. Coverage of today’s results, who OCA predicts to win and an insight into what happens in the semi final matches, will be updated on this post.

Pictured above is 26 year old Fernando Verdasco making contact with the ball for this double handed backhand ground stroke. The 1.88m left hander broke a losing streak last night by winning his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter final match on his 10th attempt. The 2009 Australian Open semi finalist will need to break another streak today against No.1 seed Novak Djokovic, who has won the past 5 matches in a row against Verdasco. Their last meeting was at in the 2009 quarter finals of the China Open in Beijing where Djokovic won 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.

Verdasco won the first 2 matches he played against Djokovic so knows he can beat him and will have the advantage of being able to play with a lot more freedom now that he has advanced through to the semi finals. Verdasco played very nervously in the 2nd set against fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes once he was up a set and 5-1 in the 2nd set. Montanes fought all the way back and took the 2nd set in a tie break before Verdasco ran out the final set 6-0 to improve to 4-0 against Montanes.

The 22 year old Djokovic improved his record against David Nalbandian to 3-1 after the 2008 Australian Open champion continued his run back into form. The 1.88m Serbian was too good for Nalbandian in all aspects of the game except for when Nalbandian played typical fast court types of points, such as winning all but 1 point when he went to the net and winning almost every point against Djokovic when the No.1 seed moved into the net.

The current World No.2 Djokovic, moved far better than Nalbandian and in an indication of how well his game is progressing, last years finalist at Monte-Carlo has won through to the semi finals despite having all sorts of problems with his 1st serve. Djokovic missed a high percentage of his 1st serves, so pretty much won his service games starting off with his 2nd serve.

Verdasco is due for a win against Djokovic and needs to control the points, go after Djokovic’s 2nd serve and play freely using his great shot making skills. The semi finals see a Spanish domination with Djokovic the odd man out. When asked about the Spaniards he said, “I’ve played against Verdasco, Nadal a lot of times on different surfaces. So I know what game to play against them. I need to stay closer to the lines, I guess, and be aggressive, but still not too much, because then I can make a lot of unforced errors. I shouldn’t force it too much.”

Djokovic has lofty goals this year and will be doing his best to set up a possible re-match against Nadal in a dream final for Monte-Carlo, the No.1 seed versus the No.2 seed. Djokovic is playing with much greater confidence and we expect that he will be the player more likely to go on the offensive take charge of this match. Prediction: Djokovic in 3 tough sets.

Rafael Nadal holds a 9-3 advantage over David Ferrer in their previous battles including, winning their last 5 matches in a row. The most recent meeting between these 2 Spaniards was in the round of 16 in Miami this year, score: 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. The 23 year old Nadal is a 6 time Grand Slam singles champion and has won the past 5 Monte-Carlo titles. He is doing his best to show everybody he has not lost a step and remains the player to beat throughout the clay court season. Nadal after a tough 1st set took the momentum against Juan Carlos Ferrero improving to 7-2 the former World No.1.

In the interview after his quarter final win Nadal commented on his semi final opponent, “[It will] be a really tough match. The style of Ferrero and Ferrer is different. Juan Carlos probably has [a] little bit more control of the ball. Ferrer plays with intensity, high intensity. When he’s hitting his forehand from the backhand [half of the court], [it] is very difficult to stop him.”

Ferrer improved to 4-0 against Philipp Kohlschreiber to record his career best result at Monte-Carlo after making the quarter finals here on 4 occasions (2005-08). Ferrer is now in his 4th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi final but the first since the 2006 Miami Open.The 1.75m former World No.4 will need to take chances and must try to play aggressively to put Nadal on the defensive, in order to try to control the points to draw opportunities to finish off points against his taller and more muscular opponent.

When the best players in the world get so close to setting up an opportunity to perform against each other in the biggest tournaments in the world, they are very tough to stop. Nadal will relish an opportunity to take on Djokovic in the final. Prediction: Nadal.

The order of play:

Both semi final matches will be played on Court Central. There is normally a 10 minute break between the completion of one match and the commencement of the next match. The matches are listed in the order that they will be played, with the 1st match beginning at 1:30pm local time in Monte-Carlo.

  1. (2) Rafael Nadal (Spain) d. (11) David Ferrer (Spain) 6-2, 6-3 in 1 hour 15 mins.
  2. (6) Fernando Verdasco (Spain) d. (1) Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 6-2 6-2 in 1 hour 32 mins.

Stay tuned to this tennis website for further information about Monte-Carlo. Click this link for more details including the Schedule of Play -> Monte-Carlo 2010: April 10-18.

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