Defeating Rafael Nadal on clay is all but impossible and very few players have achieved the same. The 23-year old from Russia Andrey Rublev stunned Nadal and came up with a brilliant performance in the quarterfinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters on Friday. Rublev, who is known for his brilliant ball-striking, defeated the king of clay by 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
The Russian came up with a dominating performance in the first set and thrashed Nadal by 6-2. However, the Spaniard bounced back to win the second but Rublev was once again at his best in the final deciding set. Rublev feels defeating Nadal on clay is a big achievement for him and also admitted that it is one of his best victories.
Nadal has been a champion at the Monte-Carlo Masters for 11 occasions and the lefty was gunning for his 12th title but his journey was ended by the Russian.
“[On one side], if we look [at] a player like Rafa, who is the best clay-court player in history, then, of course, it’s one of my best victories for sure,” Rublev said in his post-match press conference. “But if you look at [it] from [the] another side, how he feels, for sure he didn’t play his even ‘good’ level today. In his position, it’s so tough when people expect [that] you’re the best player on clay and you have to win yes or yes every time. You cannot lose on clay because you’re the best. It’s so tough to play with this feeling.
In fact, Rublev had a 0-2 head-to-head record against Nadal before entering the quarters. Furthermore, Nadal had an impressive record of 73-5 at the Monte-Carlo event before he took on the youngster.
“He’s doing this year by year. He’s winning all the tournaments or going deep every time on clay tournaments. This is amazing how he handles this. That’s why he’s one of the legends.”
Rublev also defeated Casper Ruud in the semi-finals by 6-3, 7-5 to make his way into the first final of the Monte-Carlo Masters. The 23-year old will face fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the tournament on Sunday.