Rafael Nadal: 'Winning the first set from 1-5 would have been impossible'

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Rafael Nadal: 'Winning the first set from 1-5 would have been impossible'

Rafael Nadal was pleased with his tight straight-set win over Guido Pella in Monte Carlo. The Spaniard said: "It was a very tough first set. Physically and mentally. Losing the first three games on serve was tough. But I found a way at the right time.

I was lucky at 4-1 that he had two points to 5-1. If it was 5-1 it would be almost impossible. I was lucky to escape that moment and then I played better. I finished the first set playing well and started the second set well. I played a terrible game serving for the match but I am very happy to be through.

To be the semi-finals here means a lot to me after all the things that have happened”. On Nadal's next opponent, the pundit Greg Rusedski said: “Nadal has a better chance against everybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s Fognini or if it’s Coric.

I think with Coric you know what you’re going to get. With Fognini you don’t know what to expect. He can be brilliant somedays and on top of that he has beaten Rafa twice on clay which very few people have done in their career.

I think he would probably slightly prefer Coric because the Italians show up in their masses in Monte Carlo. That will be loud and Fognini likes to walk around like ‘I’m the man’”.