Nishikori wears down Zverev to set up Nadal final

Novak Djokovic

The top seed is bidding for an outright record 31st Masters title this week and extended his run of consecutive sets won on clay to 34 as he closed on a third consecutive Monte Carlo title.

Nadal dominated the return game, particularly on Dimitrov's second serves, winning 73.7 percent of his second-serve return points, up from his tour-leading mark of 56.9 percent over the past year.

Should he advance, he will meet either Alexander Zverev of Germany of Japan's Kei Nishikori.

This is published unedited from the ANI feed. The Spanish tennis maestro had earlier stormed into the semi-finals of the tournament after brushing aside Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-0, 6-2 in a one-sided last-eight clash of the men's singles event that lasted one hour and seven minutes.

Rafael Nadal is coming off a straight sets win over Grigor Dimitrov that took 17 games to decide. Still, Thiem is one of only a few players to have beaten Nadal on the red dirt in the past.

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Dimitrov benefitted from a second-set collapse by Goffin to reach the semi-finals for the first time with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) victory. I will probably write down things I could have done better.

Nadal never looked imperious as he beat Dimitrov for the 11th time in 12 career meetings.

The fourth seed was displaying the resolve needed to push Nadal on his favourite surface, and came back from break point down twice as the Spaniard continued to miss chances.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion held for 5-4 and then Dimitrov cracked, serving consecutive double faults and hitting a wild forehand long to trail 15-40.

Coverage of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters final gets underway from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Arena on Sunday. "Little bit sore still". He beat Nadal in their last encounter two years ago to take the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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