Facing each other for the 15th time, the 11-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal scored the 14th victory over the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and the seventh in a row. The 20-time Major champion sailed into the 16th Monte Carlo quarter-final, toppling Dimitrov 6-1, 6-1 in 55 minutes for one of his most impressive triumphs in the Principality.
The top favorite held everything under control on both serve and return, dropping eight points behind the initial shot and never facing 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 has 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 on the slowest surface.
The Spaniard held at love in the first game with a forehand down the line winner and broke in the next one when Grigor hit three double faults! Rafa mounted a 4-0 gap 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 after a tooth infection.
Dimitrov placed a backhand wide to offer Nadal a break at the beginning of the second set.
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.
Out of a sudden, 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, securing the 16th Monte Carlo quarter-final and the 95th at the Masters 1000 level.
"I've been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days. I have a big tooth infection, and it's been hard. I haven't been able to sleep or eat well, or anything like that; it's time to put an end to it," Grigor Dimitrov said.