Rafael Nadal passes Monfils to advance to the Quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Both sides played their hearts out, giving the crowd a match to behold.
Nadal was quick to grab the lead, saving a break point from Monfils and going on to break Monfils himself. This led him to a 3-0 advantage. From here, Nadal closed the set out in swift fashion though Monfils did impress the crowd with a few trick-shots.
The second set started off with the same tempo as the first one. Nadal gained a 3-1 lead but Monfils quickly tied it to 3-3. Unfortunately for Monfils, these would be the only three games he would win as Nadal would go on to win the second set 6-3.
The set started out tighter with players both holding serve until 4-4. But it took an unexpected turn when Monfils broke Nadal, bringing it to his first lead in the match of 5-4. He then went on to serve but was down 0-40. Then, he shocked crowds again by saving five break points and finishing out the set by hitting a winner forehand down the line.
Monfils started the set out strong, bringing the 2-2 tie to a 4-2 lead. Rafa responded with killer forehands and his penetrating topspin to lower Monfils’s defense and bring the game back into his pace. This lead to Rafa winning the fourth set 6-4 and securing him a spot in the Quarterfinals.
Shot of the Match
It was 1-0 in the second set with Rafael Nadal down 0-30. Monfils served out-wide and came up to volley. Rafa returned with a backhand to Monfils’s backhand volley. Monfils returned it cross-court, about 20 meters from where Rafa was. This did not faze the Spaniard who sprinted across the court as fast as he could and replied to Monfils’s volley with a swerving banana-shot that made the crowds riot.
Rafael Nadal was on top of his game. His baseline was his strength and Monfils played into that, trying to go for too hard of shots or shooting for a spot on the court that had a low success rate. Though his performance was entertaining to watch, Monfils lost because he couldn’t keep up with Rafa’s aggressive topspin rallies. Monfils showed more consistency in the third set which eventually led him to win it but by then, Rafa already had too much momentum and it would’ve taken a train to stop him.
Nadal will play Raonic in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday at 2:00am (CT).
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