Men’s Semifinal:  Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs.  Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Nadal had a 10-1 lead in their head-to-head; yet, Dimitrov has always challenged the Spaniard. The first set showcased why he has always been a threat to Nadal; however, the Bulgarian came into the match with a right shoulder problem and although he put up a fight in the first set, he could not sustain it.
Nadal took the early break lead in the first set; however, he came out a tad tentative in the first set and could not maintain the lead. They traded breaks until Nadal broke in the tenth game to win the first set. Once he secured the first set, the Spaniard was finally able to relax. A combination of his injury and Nadal’s relentless pressure took a toll and Nadal won 6-4, 6-1 to advance to his twelfth Monte-Carlo final.
Men’s Semifinal:  Alexander Zverev (GER) vs.  Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Zverev came out sharp and Nishikori took a while to get going. Yet, everyone knows that Nishikori loves the challenge of fighting back from a deficit and he did just that. He broke his opponent three times to take the second set and force a deciding set. Zverev unfortunately, lost his way; his serve deserted him and too many unforced errors crept into his game.
The draining match from the night before took a toll on the young German and he ran out of gas in the decider as his opponent employed the drop shot effectively to further empty his opponent’s reserve. Nishikori won 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
MEN’S FINAL PREVIEW: Nishikori will play Nadal in an attempt to claim his first Masters title and dethrone the 10-time defending champion. Nadal knows that Nishikori is a threat. Nishikori won back-to-back titles on clay in Barcelona.
In the 2014 Madrid final, Nishikori had Nadal on the ropes. He dismantled Nadal’s game and sprinted out to a 6-2 first set and was up 4-2 in the second set when he injured his back. I watched in amazement as he pushed Nadal around the court, thinking “WOW”. It was a narrow escape for the king of clay; however, Nadal still has yet to lose to Nishikori on clay. Nishikori has beaten him twice though on hard court; is that enough to give him the belief that he can do so tomorrow?
SOURCE OF IMAGES: serveandrally