Monte Carlo Flashback: Rafael Nadal ends his incredible streak

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Monte Carlo Flashback: Rafael Nadal ends his incredible streak

Rafael Nadal conquered his first Monte Carlo title in 2005 and became an undisputed ruler in the Principality. The Spaniard claimed eight titles in a row at his favorite Masters 1000 event before losing the title clash to Novak Djokovic in 2013.

A year later, Nadal failed to reach the title match in the Principality for the first time since 2004, when he skipped the event. Rafa suffered a 7-6, 6-4 loss to David Ferrer in grueling two hours and 14 minutes in the quarter-final.

It was their 27th encounter on the Tour and the sixth triumph for the older Spaniard, the first on clay since their very first duel in Stuttgart 2004! Rafa had reached the final of the Miami Masters before earning two comfortable victories in Monte Carlo to advance into the last eight, where he could not match Ferrer's numbers and win at least a set.

David played better on the second serve and fended off seven out of ten break chances. He delivered four breaks from ten opportunities to prevail in straight sets and secure the semi-final clash with Stan Wawrinka. They had a similar number of winners, and Nadal sprayed many more unforced errors.

He failed to find the rhythm or challenge the rival in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, where Ferrer earned his triumph. Rafa sprayed a forehand error in game two to give serve away. After a 15-minute marathon in game three, he pulled it back following Ferrer's forced mistake to reduce the deficit and get back on the positive side.

A double fault cost Nadal the fourth game before breaking back a few minutes later thanks to a forehand winner.

Rafael Nadal suffered the earliest Monte Carlo loss in 11 years in 2014 to Ferrer.

An eight-time champion barely survived another break in the sixth game to level the score at 3-3.

Rafa struggled behind the initial shot two games later again but remained in contention. In one of the encounter's crucial moments, Ferrer fended off a break chance with a volley winner at 5-5. Nadal held at love in the next one to set up a tie break after almost 80 minutes!

David claimed the breaker 7-5 to gain a massive boost ahead of set number two. After easy holds on both sides, Ferrer clinched a break with a backhand winner to move 2-1 in front. He cemented it when Rafa sprayed a forehand error in the next one to take a big step towards the finish line.

Another Nadal's weak forehand sent Ferrer 5-2 in front, and the older Spaniard served for the triumph. Ready to fight until the last point, Rafa pulled one break back at 15 and held with a service winner to reduce the deficit to 5-4.

Serving for the victory for the second time, David held at 30 in game ten to topple the great rival and deliver Nadal's earliest Monte Carlo loss since 2003!