>> Saturday, April 21, 2012
The top two seeds overcame semifinal opponents in contrasting fashion to set-up a blockbuster final at the 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tennis tournament. The seven-time champion and world #2 Rafael Nadal advanced with a straight set victory over Gilles Simon of France 63 64. He will face off with world #1 Novak Djokovic who took three sets to eliminate top Czech player Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Watch the final live online featuring Djokovic vs Nadal starting at 2pm CET / 8am ET here.
Nadal who improved to 41 straight wins in Monte-Carlo will be facing a seven-match losing streak against Djokovic. He hasn’t beaten the world #1 since the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2010. He lost two tournament finals in clay last year to Djokovic, and also lost three consecutive Grand Slam finals at Wimbledon, the US Open, and most recently, the Australian Open last January.
Nadal is aiming to win a record 20th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy. He currently has 19 in a tie with world #3 Roger Federer. If Nadal wins the title in Monte-Carlo, it would be only his first ATP tour title after winning at the French Open last year. He has yet to win a single title in four tournaments this year. In his semifinal win, he has now beaten Simon for the fifth time in six career meetings.
As for Djokovic, he has now reached the Monte-Carlo final for the second time in his career after reaching the same stage in 2009 before losing to Nadal. He has a good chance to win the final considering his recent streak against the Spaniard. But, as Djokovic admits, Nadal is a different player on clay. "He's the player to beat here. He's the player to beat on clay courts. He's the best ever in the history of the sport on this surface. It's the ultimate challenge. "
Djokovic is also facing an emotional battle this week after learning on Thursday of the death of his grandfather. He is aiming for his third title this year after winning the Australian Open in Melbourne where he beat Nadal and taking the title in Miami in his last tournament by defeating Andy Murray. He is going for this twelfth Masters 1000 trophy and thirty first overall in his career. The 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final will be broadcast live online through TennisTV.com.