Today was the semifinals day at the Monte-Carlo event which saw two of the four seeds in action go through leaving them with a 50% success rate. It was also the first day of the Fed Cup semifinals, which saw both ties levelled at 1-1 by the end of the day.
The first semifinal on Court Rainier III saw Albert Ramos-Vinolas get the best result of his career as he reached his first masters final with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 win over Lucas Pouille. Ramos-Vinolas played very well and showed of his defensive skills when Pouille started pushing Ramos-Vinolas around the court in the first two sets. Both of the men were very nervous in the first set and they were struggling to hold serve throughout the set. Pouille got the first break of the match over Ramos-Vinolas but from there he got broken three times and didn’t do much after that in the set apart from getting two holds. Pouille was very good in the second set as he started to get more comfortable and he didn’t face a break point throughout the set. Ramos-Vinolas managed to save 5 break points in the set but eventually Pouille got the set when he broke Ramos-Vinolas. Pouille’s body started to break down for the decider and he took a medical timeout when he was down 3-0. After the match, he revealed that he was suffering with a lower back and hip injury, which started giving him pain at the beginning of the decider. He got one more service hold on the way to losing the match but either way this is such a massive achievement for Ramos-Vinolas as no one was expecting this from him in Monte-Carlo.
Rafael Nadal was expected to reach the final and he has worked his way through the draw very nicely and professionally this week. He got through his semifinal over David Goffin 6-3, 6-1 in routine fashion without much trouble or resistance from his opponent. Neither player was playing that well for most of the match but an incident in the middle of the first set saw Goffin get very frustrated and he only won one game after the incident. Goffin went out there playing some wonderful tennis and he was bossing around Nadal early, who wasn’t playing that badly. He went up a break to lead 2-1 and then from there he had game points to go up 4-2 when an unfortunate line call was made. The umpire was convinced the ball was out and Goffin was convinced the ball was in but after much arguing the umpire’s call stood. Goffin only one won more game after that issue as Nadal won the next 8 of 9 games. This was very disappointing as no one knows how the match would have gone if the line call was called in but Nadal did deserve the win as kept his composure in a situation that would have broken others. Nadal now has the opportunity to take home his tenth Monte Carlo title, the most titles he has ever won at one single tournament.
In the Fed Cup semifinals, both ties are tied at 1-1 and have very intriguing match-ups heading into the next couple of days. In the Belarus v Switzerland tie, Aliaksandra Sasnovich won a very tight and entertaining opening rubber over Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in about ten minutes under three hours. Timea Bacsinszky then got her nation on the board as she closed out an expected 6-4, 7-5 win over Aryna Sabalenka. In the more popular tie amongst fans, the United States are level with the defending champions the Czech Republic. Coco Vandeweghe opened the tie as she got her first win since the Fed Cup quarterfinals over recent Biel champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 6-1. Katerina Siniakova then got her nation on the board by closing out a routine 6-3, 6-3 win over Shelby Rogers. I am sure many people have heard about Ilie Nastae drama at the Romania v Great Britain tie and I will discuss with other off court news on Saturday or Sunday.