Nadal rolls into Monte Carlo semifinals

4/21/2018 12:23:47 AM EST

Rafael Nadal isn't playing like a guy seeking to regain his form.

The top-seeded Nadal recently returned from a hip injury that has kept him out since January but has reached the semifinals of the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters after dominating Austria's Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2 on Friday at Monaco.

Nadal won 84 percent of his first-serve points and won the first nine games while soaring through the match.

The Spaniard is 66-4 all-time at Monte Carlo and just two victories away from his 11th title at the clay-court event.

"It has been a great result for me, but it isn't a normal result," Nadal said after dispatching the fifth-seeded Thiem. "He's one of the best players of the world, especially on clay.

"Here, I think I played great. I played so well this afternoon, playing very aggressive in general terms, backhand, forehand, serve. I'm defending well, returning well. It has been a great day for me, and a very good result against a very difficult rival."

Thiem committed 25 unforced errors in the setback.

Nadal will face Grigor Dimitrov in the semis after the fourth-seeded Bulgarian defeated sixth-seeded Belgian David Goffin 6-4, 7-6 (5) in his quarterfinal match. Japan's Kei Nishikori and Germany's Alexander Zverev will meet in the other semifinal.

Dimitrov posted six aces while defeating Goffin, his doubles partner. He had to thwart a strong second set comeback by Goffin to prevail.

The prospect of facing Nadal couldn't dim reaching the semis even though Dimitrov is 1-10 all-time against Nadal.

"For sure he's the favorite," Dimitrov said after this victory. "Yes, he has a great record. Yes, he's the best player on clay. That definitely doesn't discourage me. That excites me to get out on Saturday and play my match. Simple as that."

Nishikori is thriving after recently returning from a wrist injury and he posted a 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 victory over second-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia.

Nishikori nearly won the match in straight sets. Cilic fought him off to win the second before Nishikori controlled the final set.

"Every match I think I'm improving," Nishikori said afterward. "Today was tough match. He was playing very good, especially in the second set. He was playing aggressively. ... Yeah, mentally it was a little bit tough in the second set. I lost three match points. He was starting to play better again."

The third-seeded Zverev fell down a set on his 21st birthday before recovering to record a 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

"The third set was very intense, a lot of tight moments," Zverev said afterward. "I feel like in the tightest moments we both played the best tennis. I'm just happy with my performance tennis-wise, also mentally-wise."

--Field Level Media

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Sat, 12 May 2018 17:44:13 EST Kvitova outlasts Bertens to win third Madrid title
Fri, 11 May 2018 18:42:59 EST Kvitova wins 10th straight match to reach Madrid final
Fri, 11 May 2018 12:38:56 EST Serena Williams commits to San Jose tourney
Thu, 10 May 2018 18:00:05 EST Pliskova ends Halep's quest for three-peat at Madrid

LPGA Stories

Fri, 25 May 2018 21:25:16 EST Hataoka takes one-shot lead at Volvik Championship
Thu, 24 May 2018 20:14:48 EST Four tied for lead at Volvik Championship
Thu, 24 May 2018 02:27:16 EST LPGA announces new South Korean event
Tue, 22 May 2018 17:07:45 EST LPGA legend Mann dies at 77
Sun, 20 May 2018 21:39:08 EST Jutanugarn birdies playoff holes, wins LPGA tourney
Sat, 19 May 2018 19:07:05 EST Rain wipes out round at Kingsmill Championship
Fri, 18 May 2018 19:57:12 EST Korea's Chun leads rain-delayed Kingsmill Championship
Thu, 17 May 2018 19:35:51 EST Korda shares lead at Kingsmill Championship
Sun, 06 May 2018 20:31:24 EST Defending U.S. Open champ Park captures LPGA event
Sat, 05 May 2018 23:52:11 EST Larsen loses VOA lead due to penalty
Fri, 04 May 2018 22:03:51 EST Bad weather shortens Texas tourney to 36 holes
Thu, 03 May 2018 17:21:12 EST Winds, rain wipe out LPGA event's first round
Sun, 29 Apr 2018 21:44:27 EST Ko eagles playoff hole to win MEDIHEAL title
Sat, 28 Apr 2018 21:32:27 EST Ko surges to third-round lead at MEDIHEAL Championship
Fri, 27 Apr 2018 23:44:21 EST Korda holds narrow lead in MEDIHEAL Championship
Thu, 26 Apr 2018 23:03:37 EST Five players share first-round MEDIHEAL lead
Mon, 23 Apr 2018 12:57:38 EST Inbee Park reclaims No. 1
Sun, 22 Apr 2018 22:30:49 EST Moriya Jutanugarn joins sister as LPGA winner
Sat, 21 Apr 2018 22:30:28 EST Ko matches Jutanugarn's lead entering L.A. final round
Fri, 20 Apr 2018 23:06:32 EST Jutanugarn fires 66 to grab 36-hole lead in L.A.

WNCAAB Stories

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 15:42:54 EST Former Tennessee great Charles-Furlow dead at 49
Fri, 06 Apr 2018 23:51:39 EST South Carolina's Wilson earns Wooden Award
Mon, 02 Apr 2018 15:50:53 EST UConn's Stevens skipping final season, entering WNBA draft
Sun, 01 Apr 2018 21:15:27 EST Easter stunner: Irish win title on last-second 3-pointer
Sat, 31 Mar 2018 18:07:32 EST South Carolina's Wilson wins Naismith player of year
Sat, 31 Mar 2018 00:26:56 EST Ogunbowale's shot lifts Notre Dame over UConn in OT thriller
Fri, 30 Mar 2018 21:46:41 EST Mississippi State outlasts Louisville in OT to advance to national championship
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 23:16:06 EST Notre Dame downs Oregon to charge into Final Four
Mon, 26 Mar 2018 23:01:32 EST UConn routs defending champion South Carolina to reach Final Four
Sun, 25 Mar 2018 21:57:47 EST McCowan, Mississippi State outmuscle UCLA to reach Final Four
Sun, 25 Mar 2018 22:04:33 EST Durr scores 18 as Louisville romps into Final Four
Sat, 24 Mar 2018 20:46:48 EST Oregon cruises past Central Michigan to advance to Elite Eight
Sat, 24 Mar 2018 21:11:38 EST Notre Dame edges Texas A&M to make Elite Eight
Sat, 24 Mar 2018 20:52:26 EST Collier paces top-seeded UConn in win over Duke
Sat, 24 Mar 2018 20:57:12 EST No. 2 seed South Carolina pulls away late to top Buffalo
Sat, 24 Mar 2018 00:34:21 EST NCAA women's roundup: Oregon State stuns Baylor
Fri, 23 Mar 2018 23:54:01 EST Louisville overpowers Stanford in regional semis
Fri, 23 Mar 2018 23:40:30 EST UCLA edges Texas to reach Elite Eight
Fri, 23 Mar 2018 23:42:57 EST Oregon State ends Baylor's 30-game winning streak in Sweet 16 upset
Fri, 23 Mar 2018 23:19:07 EST Mississippi State cruises past NC State to advance to Elite Eight

USA Stories

Wed, 23 May 2018 02:48:44 EST Danica Patrick selected as first female ESPYS host
Tue, 22 May 2018 16:23:45 EST USA Gymnastics CEO to apologize to Nassar victims
Sat, 19 May 2018 23:01:41 EST Justify wins Preakness, sets stage for Triple Crown bid
Fri, 18 May 2018 15:01:25 EST Latest ouster in wake of Nassar scandal divides USA Gymnastics
Thu, 17 May 2018 20:55:22 EST Delaware poised to allow full-scale sports betting
Thu, 17 May 2018 13:56:40 EST New gambling regulation prompts NCAA to ease up on venue rule
Thu, 17 May 2018 11:25:05 EST Derby winner Justify in form as he looks to add Preakness
Wed, 16 May 2018 18:47:00 EST Derby winner Justify draws No. 7 post at Preakness
Wed, 16 May 2018 16:56:54 EST N.J. sports betting must wait for legislation, senator says
Wed, 16 May 2018 12:56:55 EST Michigan State to pay out at least $500M to Nassar victims
Tue, 15 May 2018 13:54:54 EST N.J.'s Monmouth Park to open sports betting on Memorial Day
Mon, 14 May 2018 14:01:56 EST Supreme Court overturns sports betting ban
Sat, 12 May 2018 14:04:57 EST Suspension won't force jockey Smith to miss Preakness
Thu, 10 May 2018 13:41:23 EST Justify gallops in first workout since heel injury
Wed, 09 May 2018 14:16:37 EST Justify (heel) set to gallop Thursday
Sat, 05 May 2018 21:53:08 EST Justify shows effortless talent in winning Kentucky Derby
Fri, 04 May 2018 19:43:35 EST Monomoy Girl holds off Wonder Gadot for Kentucky Oaks win
Thu, 03 May 2018 19:30:53 EST All signs point to epic Kentucky Derby
Wed, 02 May 2018 19:55:19 EST Mendelssohn still waiting to work out at Churchill Downs
Tue, 01 May 2018 13:29:01 EST Early Kentucky Derby favorite Justify draws No. 7 post