>> Friday, April 20, 2012
World #2 and seven-time defending champion Rafael Nadal advanced to the semifinals of the 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tennis tournament when he eliminated unseeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland. The Spaniard recorded his 40th consecutive win in Monte-Carlo during his straight set 75 64 quarterfinal victory. Nadal will take on ninth-seeded Gilles Simon for a spot in the finals. Simon won the battle of the Frenchmen when he downed higher ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 75 64 in the last match of the day. Watch the 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semifinal between Nadal and Simon live online here.
Nadal has not lost a match in Monte-Carlo since being beaten by Guillermo Coria in the third round of the 2003 tournament. He has now improved to a perfect 8-0 record against the Swiss who is ranked #26 in the world. Wawrinka played an impressive match in the previous round when he eliminated Nadal’s countryman, Nicolas Almagro, who leads the ATP tour this year with the most match wins at 25. Nadal said that he had a difficult quarterfinal match, but that he was happy with the way he played and in reaching the semifinals.
Nadal will be a heavy favorite to reach his eight consecutive final at Monte-Carlo. He has the best career match record on clay since the start of the Open Era. He has won 233 matches against 18 losses for an incredibly high 93% winning percentage. He has reached thirty-six clay court tournament finals winning 32. Nadal has lost only four matches on clay since 2006 winning twenty three clay court titles since that time. Two of those losses however, were dealt by world #1 Novak Djokovic during last year’s clay season.
As for Simon, he reversed a losing trend to his Davis Cup teammate by beating Tsonga for the first time since 2008. Simon now improves to 2 wins against 4 losses against the French #1 who he last beat in a third set tiebreak during the first round of the 2008 ATP Masters 1000 Rome tennis tournament. Simon beat his second straight top 10 opponent as he also eliminated world #8 Janko Tipsaveric in the round of 16. He now advances to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final on clay and is the first Frenchman to advance to this round after Richard Gasquest accomplished the same in 2005.
Nadal Statistics for 2012: The 25-year-old from Mallorca now improves to 42-1 career record with 40 straight wins in Monte-Carlo. He has been very dominant in this tournament losing only a total of six sets against 80 sets won since 2005. Nadal is aiming to win his first title of the year after reaching 1 final and 3 semifinals in his last four tournaments. He withdrew against Andy Murray in the semifinals in Miami, the last tournament he played before Monte-Carlo. He owns a 20-3 record this season losing to three players – Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Gael Monfils.
Simon Statistics for 2012: The #3 Frenchman behind Tsonga and Monfils is now through to his third semifinal of the year. Simon lost both semifinals appearances in the Brisbane and Montpellier tennis tournaments. With the win over Tsonga, he has now defeated top 10 players back-to-back for the first time in his career. He has a 17-9 record for the year, and is aiming for his 10th career title and first for the year. Simon has played Nadal five times, winning just one of those meetings in the semi-finals of the 2008 Mutua Madrid Open.
Watch the 2012 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters semifinals featuring Nadal vs Simon live online through TennisTv.com.