ATP Montecarlo is nobody’s (red) land-

Twenty-four hours after number one Djokovic, the defending champion, Fabio Fognini, and the lord of the earth, Rafa Nadal, who fails to make the voice of the master on the pitch where since 2005 he has won 11 titles. Montecarlo, in the unreal silence of closed doors, remains no man’s land (almost).

These are times like this, tennis intolerant of bubbles forced into a pneumatic vacuum, it favors surprises and the advancement of novelties compared to those who have remained stationary for a long time, red highlights Stunts of the Djoker with Evans and of Nadal with Rublev, Friday on the edge of perfection, they are distant relatives of the champions of the 18 and 20 Slams. “I’m not a fan of excuses: the truth is that I didn’t play well, in fact I was a disaster” admits Rafa overwhelmed by double faults (7), serving percentages (57% of first balls), unconverted break opportunities: “A deadly cocktail: with these numbers, against a strong player like Rublev, you’re done for”. Nadal can’t rest easy: “Certainly not the best way to start the season on clay, now I go to Barcelona but above all I go back to training for many hours a day. It is a defeat that hurts, I hope to be able to make up for it with work ».

A frequenter of his academy in Manacor, Mallorca, overwhelms Fabio Fognini in recovery but not bright enough: will be the Norwegian Casper Ruud, 22 years old n. 27, Saturday in the semifinals, trying to stop cyclone Rublev, standard bearer of the generation that is ready to take everything. Match in balance until the tenth game, when the Italian n. 18 gives up the service from 40-15, delivering the set (6-4) in the hands of the opponent who had already beaten him twice in 2020. In the second Ruud flies 3-0, Fognini has a jolt of pride, goes back 3 -3 but in the eighth game he collapses from 40-0, surrendering 6-3.

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It is Stefanos Tsitsipas, b. 5 of the ranking and n. 4 on the board, the highest ranked player who survived the Principality’s revolution. He faces the English Daniel Evans as a favorite, seeing his first career Master 1000 title on the horizon, just the second on clay.

April 16, 2021 (change April 16, 2021 | 22:26)


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