Back in 2010, Rafael Nadal returned to Monte Carlo as the five-time champion and the biggest favorite for another crown in the Principality, suffering no defeats at the first Masters 1000 event of the season since 2003! Nadal made the best possible start at one of his beloved tournaments, toppling Thiem de Bakker, Michael Berrer and Juan Carlos Ferrero after dropping only eight games in six sets (six of those against Ferrer), setting the semi-final clash with another Spaniard David Ferrer.
It was the 13th meeting between two fine clay-courters, with Rafa earning the tenth triumph following a one-sided 6-2, 6-3 victory in an hour and 15 minutes, advancing to the sixth straight Monte Carlo final. Nadal lost serve twice but that was hardly an obstacle for him after a dominant display on the return, taking 54% of the points in Ferrer's games and earning six breaks that pushed him over the finish line in no time at all.
David somehow stayed in touch in the shortest rallies and Rafa forged his win in the most extended ones, controlling the pace in the exchanges and reducing his opponent to less than ten winners and more than 25 unforced errors.
Ferrer made a powerful start, holding at love with a service winner in the first game and creating a break chance in the next one, denied by a service winner from Nadal who held with another one to level the score at 1-1.
He broke at 15 in the third game following a weak drop shot from David, forcing an error from his rival in the next game to confirm the lead and move 3-1 in front. Losing ground in those moments, Ferrer sprayed a backhand error to suffer another break and fall 4-1 down, wasting his chances on the return a few minutes later and allowing Rafa to hold with a lob winner.
Serving for the set at 5-2, Nadal fired three service winners to close the opener in style in 35 minutes, hoping for more of the same in set number two. There, he grabbed a break at 1-1 following a terrible forehand from Ferrer who pulled the break back with a much better forehand in the next game to level the score at 2-2.
Maintaining his composure, Rafa landed a forehand down the line winner to secure another break and get back in front, firing four winners on serve to forge a 4-2 gap. Ferrer hit a double fault to give serve away and allow Nadal to serve for the victory in the eighth game.
Not ready to surrender, David pulled one break back to extend his chances before Rafa claimed another break to move over the top and book the place in the final.