Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov met for the 15th time in the last year's Monte Carlo third round. The Spaniard defeated the Bulgarian for the 14th time following a 6-1, 6-1 win in 55 minutes, advancing into his 16th quarter-final in the Principality.
The top favorite held everything under control on serve and return. Rafa dropped eight points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point. On the other hand, the Bulgarian suffered five breaks, never finding his rhythm and leaving the court in under an hour.
Rafa tamed his strokes nicely and took advantage of his rival's over 30 unforced mistakes. Grigor never looked like a serious contender, and he revealed the reasons right after the match. The Bulgarian had been dealing with a tooth infection for the last four or five days, not eating or sleeping properly and having nothing left in the tank against the most formidable opponent.
In the first game, the Spaniard held at love with a forehand down the line winner and broke in the next one when Grigor hit three double faults! Rafa mounted a 4-0 advantage when Dimitrov sprayed a forehand mistake, using his opponent's five double faults so far to create a massive advantage in no time.
The Spaniard placed a forehand winner for 5-0 and sealed the opener nine minutes later with a service winner in game seven.
Grigor Dimitrov won only two games against Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo.
Dimitrov placed a backhand wide to offer Nadal a break at the beginning of the second set and fall further behind.
The 11-time winner confirmed the advantage with a hold at 15 and produced another break following Grigor's loose forehand. The Spaniard closed the fourth game with an ace and had a chance to grab another break in the next one.
Suddenly, Grigor claimed four straight points to bring the game home and avoid a bagel. Returning at 5-1, Rafa moved over the top with a forehand down the line winner for his 95th Masters 1000 quarter-final. "I've been struggling with a massive tooth problem for four or five days.
I have a big tooth infection, and it's been hard. I have not been able to sleep or eat well, or anything like that; it's time to end it," Grigor Dimitrov said.