ThrowbackTimes Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal tops David Goffin after terrible umpiring..

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ThrowbackTimes Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal tops David Goffin after terrible umpiring..

David Goffin had finally pulled everything together in Monte Carlo 2017 to score his first win over the players ranked in the top-3. The Belgian erased the deficit in the final set to topple Novak Djokovic and reach the semi-final, meeting another tennis giant Rafael Nadal.

Interestingly, they had never played before, and it should have been a great contest, something the spectators got in the first six games. Nonetheless, David wasted no less than ten game points to move 4-2 up, squandering them all and never acting like the same player in the rest of the clash, taking only one game to propel Rafa into the final!

Nadal scored a 6-3, 6-1 triumph to advance into his 11th Monte Carlo final, with the most crucial moment of the encounter coming after one poor call from the chair umpire Cedric Mourier, who turned the whole battle in favor of one player while the other faded from the court.

Overall, it was another routine victory for Rafa on his favorite ground, making the difference with his second serve (12 out of 14 points won) and converting five out of 11 break chances to hold the encounter firmly in his hands after that crucial game six of the opening set.

Goffin played great in the opening five games, and Nadal needed some time to find the rhythm and impose his strokes, getting into the zone and cracking the Belgian's game to dominate in the rest of the duel. Goffin had 13 service winners, a decent number for him, while Nadal stayed on nine.

In the winners from the field, the Spaniard was 15-11 in front, firing 11 forehand winners and three from his backhand, while David had five from a forehand and four from a backhand. Unforced errors were the segment that buried Goffin's chance to achieve a more favorable result, spraying 27 of those and 18 from his forehand alone, three times more than Rafa, who stayed on only nine.

Rafael Nadal beat David Goffin in Monte Carlo 2017.

The Belgian added 14 forced errors in comparison to Nadal's ten, taking only four games despite a promising start. They were on equal terms in the shortest rallies up to four strokes (25-22 for Nadal), while the Spaniard had the edge in the middle-range exchanges up to eight shots, taking 20 out of 32.

Rafa was also much better in the most extended points, winning nine out of 11 once the rally would reach 13 or more strokes. David created two break chances in the opening game with forehand winners (the best shot in the first half of the first set), and Nadal fended them off with three winners to close the game after an 18-stroke rally.

Goffin had a good hold in game two and broke Nadal in the following one to open up a 2-1 gap and move in front. David's tactic was transparent, taking the ball as early as possible and taking time out from Nadal's shot, driving Spaniard away from the comfort zone.

For illustration, Nadal committed eight unforced and five forced errors in the entire match against Zverev and already hitting nine errors after three games against the Belgian! Goffin had a clear advantage in the mid-range rallies (7-2 after game five, but it would be 10-10 by the end of the set), and another comfortable hold sent him 3-1 in front, leaving Nadal with a lot of work to do if he wanted to get back on the scoreboard.

In game five, David started to make mistakes, but that was all part of the process when someone played on such an aggressive note as he did, with Nadal reducing the deficit to 3-2 after taking an essential 20-stroke rally.

Then, that pivotal sixth game was on the board, with David failing to convert those enormous ten game opportunities, allowing Rafa to break him and level the score instead of him moving 4-2 in front. The Belgian was 40-0 up but couldn't close the game, starting to spray more errors to keep Nadal in the game.

On his seventh game chance, David won the point when Nadal sent the forehand some ten centimeters behind the baseline, believing that he had finally finished the game. Instead of that, Mourier came down from his chair, pointing out what was clearly the wrong mark and repeating the point.

Of course, this caused an angry reaction from the usually calm and composed Belgian, who couldn't believe how colossal error Mourier just made. Instead of calling the line judge to show the right mark or to bring the supervisor instantly, he argued for a while and continued playing, never finding the rhythm again and fading from the court entirely.

After almost 20 minutes of drama, Nadal broke for a 3-3 when David missed a forehand, with the Spaniard taking nine out of the last ten games to wrap up a safe win in what looked like a stern test for him in the opening six games.