Rafael Nadal has been 71-5 in Monte Carlo since 2005, winning 11 titles and remaining undefeated between 2005-2012. After a couple of discreet years for his level, the Spaniard recovered and lifted three consecutive trophies between 2016 and 2018.
Nadal failed to deliver the 12th crown in the last two editions. Last year, Rafa did not play for two months before Monte Carlo, dealing with a back injury and hoping for a better run on his beloved surface. The Spaniard recorded two resounding victories over Federico Delbonis and Grigor Dimitrov to reach the quarterfinals.
However, Andrey Rublev proved too strong for the king of clay and defeated him 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 32 minutes. It was Nadal's first loss in Monte Carlo since 2014. He couldn't get past a fit youngster in the baseline rallies and left the Principality with a modest 180 points.
Rublev wasted the advantage in the second set. Still, he started again in the decider to advance to the second straight Masters 1000 semi-final after Miami a few weeks earlier. Rublev stole Nadal's serve seven times, dominating the scoreboard in sets one and three and scoring one of his most prized wins.
As in 2019 against Fabio Fognini, Nadal was miles away from his best, racking up too many double faults and failing to match Rublev's pace in sets one and three to hit the starting gate. Rafa will try to recover in time for Barcelona, where he became champion a year ago in that memorable final against Stefanos Tsitsipas after saving a match point.
Nadal suffered a rib injury
During a recent conversation with Eurosport Spain, Alex Corretja gave his thoughts on Rafael Nadal's injury. He expressed his surprise at Nadal's injury but stressed that the Spaniard was bound to feel the effects of playing so many matches after a long hiatus.
"This injury for Rafa was absolutely unexpected," Corretja told Eurosport Spain. "Honestly, he was in perfect form, with confidence, winning matches. It really was a perfect start for the season, but sometimes it can happen that when you haven't competed for a while you start to win many sets, many matches and that sometimes causes a new injury, as has been the case this time." Rafael Nadal suffered a rib injury during the semi-finals with Alcaraz Carlos at the Indian Wells 2022.
However, he did not back off and played the finals against Taylor Fritz, in which the former player reigned. The player had to take a break from further tours as he could not play.
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