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Nadal vs Dimitrov ATP Monte-Carlo live streaming, preview and tips - Ruthless Nadal targets 12th win over Dimitrov in third round

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 18 Apr 2019
  • Rafael Nadal vs Grigor Dimitrov is live from Monte-Carlo around 2.00pm local time on Thursday (1.00pm BST)
  • Nadal leads their head-to-head 11-1 and has won all four meetings on clay
Rafael Nadal (PA Images)

Rafael Nadal goes in search of his 12th win over Grigor Dimitrov when he continues his bid for a 12th Monte-Carlo Masters title on Thursday in the third round.

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World No. 2 and 11-time Monte-Carlo Masters champion brings a dominant 11-1 record over Grigor Dimitrov into their third round encounter on Thursday.

On a 16-match winning streak in the Principality, Nadal picked up from where he left off last clay season, completely dominating from start to finish as he ruthlessly picked apart countryman Roberto Bautista 6-1 6-1 in his opening match on Wednesday. In what was another intimidating clay court performance, especially being his first match since withdrawing from the Indian Wells Masters semi-finals with a knee injury, Nadal raced through the one-sided contest in 76 minutes, making it abundantly clear (if for some reason it wasn’t already), that he is once again the man to beat on the dirt.

"This is just the first match. [It has] been a very positive start," said Nadal. "The result says that. And the feeling on court, too... I just started well. It's the first match in almost a year on this surface. But, of course, a start like this helps."
"Tomorrow is another good test against Grigor, so let's see. I need to play well again."

Nadal improved his record in Monte-Carlo to an extraordinary 69-4, with the Spaniard looking to make it 12 titles at the tournament over the coming days. Currently possessing the best winning percentage on clay of all time (92% with a 416-36 record), it’s almost impossible to see anyone challenging the King of Clay in the lead-up to the French Open. Novak Djokovic has beaten him twice at Monte-Carlo and of course at the French Open, but the World No. 1 will have to raise his level considerably from his current form if he wants to lift any clay court titles in 2019. That’s not to say he won’t - we know Djokovic is more than capable, but right now, even after one match, everything appears in Nadal’s favour.

Winning or not, Nadal would also simply be relieved to get off hardcourt, a surface where he has withdrawn or retired in countless tournaments over the last few seasons, including his most recent event at Indian Wells, where his knee problem forced him to withdraw prior to a semi-final duel with Roger Federer. Nadal appeared in perfect health for his opening match in Monte-Carlo - will it be another straightforward win for the 11-time champion on Thursday?


Most likely, and that’s nothing against Grigor Dimitrov, who is playing some fine tennis this week, but literally nobody is likely to take a set off Nadal in Monte-Carlo. It’s been a tough start to the season for Dimitrov, but he’s won back-to-back matches for the first time since January this week in Monte-Carlo, advancing to the third round without dropping a set in victories over Matteo Berrettini (7-5 6-4) and Jan-Lennard Struff (7-6(2) 6-4), who beat him at that stage in Monte-Carlo two years ago.

A semi-finalist in Monte-Carlo last season and a two-time quarter-finalist in 2013 and 2015, Dimitrov has played well in the Principality before, and he’s once again producing some nice tennis at the tournament this week - which is much-needed for the Bulgarian, after a shoulder injury disrupted his start to 2019 and caused him to miss almost two months of action after a fourth round Australian Open loss to Frances Tiafoe. Dimitrov returned in Miami but lost to Jordan Thompson in his second match and is in the midst of trying to rebuild some momentum and his ranking, which has dropped to No. 28 after he failed to win a title in 2018 and build on his stunning 2017, which included winning the biggest title of his career at the Nitto ATP Finals and further titles at the Cincinnati Masters, Sofia and Brisbane, along with making the Australian Open semi-finals.

Unfortunately for Dimitrov, he’s running into the best clay player in history on Thursday. Dimitrov actually took a set off Nadal in the 2013 Monte-Carlo quarter-finals, but since then, he hasn’t won more than four games in a set against the Spaniard in three more clay meetings. Look for Nadal to pepper Dimitrov’s one-handed backhand with his topspin forehand and pounce on the short reply. Rinse and repeat and we should be seeing another comfortable straight sets win for the King of Clay on Thursday.


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Nadal vs Dimitrov ATP Monte-Carlo live streaming, preview and tips - Ruthless Nadal targets 12th win over Dimitrov in third round

Rafael Nadal goes in search of his 12th win over Grigor Dimitrov when he continues his bid for a 12th Monte-Carlo Masters title on Thursday in the third round.

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