Flashback to Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal scores 32 victories and defeats Khachanov, Karen

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Rafael Nadal, the incumbent champion, reached his 14th quarterfinal of the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 out of 15 appearances in 2018. Rafa defeated Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 19 minutes to go to the round of eight.

In their third encounter, Nadal prevailed decisively to keep his title hopes alive. Rafa used all the correct procedures to manage the rally’s tempo. Although there were a few wayward forehands, the world number one delivered another strong serve and return to take the top spot.

Despite one shaky service game from Nadal, his serve was not in jeopardy. He dropped 12 points in nine service games for eight simple holds, putting Khachanov under pressure. Despite serving at only 43% and striking seven service winners, the young player was unable to penetrate Nadal from the baseline and could not keep him safe.

Nadal controlled the scoreboard by winning half of the return points and seven break chances, converting two in each set.

In Monte Carlo 2018, Rafael Nadal fell to Karen Khachanov in five games.

In order to create some open space, the Spaniard drove Khachanov to take dangerous shots, which did not go well for him.

Rafa improved the efficiency of his strokes to make less mistakes. He outclassed his opponent with powerful, well-placed shots that gave him the advantage during the combat. The fact that Nadal was 10-7 up in service wins is never helpful for his competitors on clay.

With 11 shots from his forehand, he outscored Karen 22-9 in the winners from the court. Similar amounts of unforced errors (15-14 for Karen) and more forced errors (7-4) were committed by the Russian. Without changing up his approach and forcing the Spaniard to strike from more awkward places, he had to push Nadal to the limit in that area as well in order to have any chance of winning this match.

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Rafa finished with 32 victories and 19 faults, while Karen finished with 16 victories and 24 errors—far from enough to pose a real threat to Rafa. In the closest points up to four strokes, Khachanov managed to maintain a deficit of 26-22.

However, he was unable to maintain the momentum in the longer rallies, dropping 30 of the 43 points that went to the fifth shot. Rafa defeated Karen in the mid-range exchanges (15-6) by skillfully building the points and holding them on his racquet as he sped to the top.

Flashback to Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal scores 32 victories and defeats Khachanov, Karen

By Antonio Zaccaro

Hello, I'm Antonio Zaccaro, tennis lover since I was 13. I started this blog out of pure passion, and now it has become my job. I constantly follow all the tournaments and I am always updated on all the news. What I know, I share with all my readers. My considerations are the result of hours and hours spent in front of screens and on tennis courts.