Free Press Journal

Nadal tops Wawrinka to set up Murray clash in Monte Carlo


Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay during their men's singles semi-final match of the 2016 Rio Open tennis tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Februrary 20, 2016. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA

Monte Carlo: Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal will face Andy Murray in the semi-finals of the Monte-Carlo Masters tennis tournament after sweeping past 2014 winner Stanislas Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4 on Friday.

It will be the third time that Nadal and Murray have met in the semi-finals at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, with Nadal winning their contests in 2009 and 2011.

Nadal leads their overall head-to-head meetings 16-6, but it was Murray who won their last clay-court meeting, in the Madrid final last year.

Murray defeated Milos Raonic 6-2, 6-0 in 66 minutes earlier on Friday.

The 29-year-old Nadal is looking to win the Monte-Carlo crown for the ninth time this week. The Spaniard set a tournament record 46-match winning run as he claimed eight straight titles from 2005-2012, before his streak ended in the 2013 final against World No.1 Novak Djokovic.

Nadal passed a stern test in Dominic Thiem in the third round on Thursday and raised his level yet again when faced with the fourth-seeded Wawrinka, who captured his first Masters crown in Monte-Carlo in 2014.

The Spaniard improved to a 15-3 career head to head record over Wawrinka as he sped to victory in 68 minutes. Nadal broke serve four times and won 73 per cent of his service points as he notched his 56th victory in Monte-Carlo.