Nadal must beat Nishikori to retain No.1 spot

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal will on Sunday, contest the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Monte Carlo against a resurgent Kei Nishikori. Mr Nadal overcame Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-1 while Mr Nishikori, who is also coming back from long-time injury needed three sets to get over the challenge of Alexander Zverev 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

By reaching Sunday’s final where he will be facing clay court supremo and world No.1, Mr Nadal, Mr Nishikori became the first Japanese to reach the final of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in its 121 years of existence.

The 28-year-old Japanese will be hoping to win a first Masters 1000 title in his fourth try – he lost the first three while his opponent, Mr Nadal, will be seeking a new record of a 32nd Masters 1000 title.

After his near three hours battle against Mr Zverev, Mr Nishikori said, “I’m happy to be back in final of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 again. It’s been a long time for me. Hopefully, I can have another good day tomorrow.”

Mr Nadal, who is yet to drop a set in Monte Carlo says he has to be better in the final to retain his No. 1 spot come Monday. “It’s a tough final, as a Masters 1000 should be, against a great opponent,” he said in a courtside interview after dispatching Mr Dimitrov.

“With Kei, we had a lot of good matches in our career. I know I have to play at my best to keep having real chances of success. It’s an important match for me tomorrow.”

The Spaniard is now unbeaten on clay since the 2017 Rome Masters and hopes to make it 35 consecutive wins on his favourite surface on Sunday.

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