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Monte Carlo Maters 2019 Quarter-finals: Rafael Nadal vs Guido Pella, Preview and Prediction

ANALYST
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231   //    19 Apr 2019, 08:29 IST

Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters - Day Five
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters - Day Five

11-time champion Rafael Nadal meets world number 35 Guido Pella in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Monte Carlo Masters.

The two have faced off against each other twice in the past and the Argentine is yet to take a set off the Spaniard. Their most recent encounter was on the clay court of the French Open last year, where Nadal romped home in a lop-sided encounter, Pella managing to take only four games in three sets!

However, like many other Argentines, Pella is an excellent clay court player. His only ATP tour title came on clay, at the Brasil Open earlier this year. His form at the Monte Carlo Masters so far has been excellent as well. He has been especially good at critical junctures and has shown great temperament.

In his last two matches, against two more-fancied players, his game awareness ensured that he came out victorious in tight three-setters. Against the seventh seed Marin Cilic, he was simply unstoppable in the third set, letting the Croatian take only one game off him!

He was equally impressive in his win against the 11th seed Marco Cecchinato. The latter had defeated former champion Stan Wawrinka in one of the best comebacks in a tennis match this year, having been bageled in the first set.

But against Pella, he could not replicate that. Though he did make a comeback in the second set, Pella took the deciding set by playing much more solid tennis.

Pella has broken his opponents a whopping 18 times in the three matches that he has played so far. He will need to bring that sort of form on his return game if he is to have any chance of making his match against Nadal competitive. Nadal has looked in imperious touch so far. He was at his absolute ruthless best against Bautista Agut and impressive against Dimitrov as well.

Nadal and Pella at 2018 French Open - Day Five
Nadal and Pella at 2018 French Open - Day Five

But what would give Pella some hope is the fact that there were times, especially during the first set against Dimitrov, when Nadal looked a bit shaky and vulnerable. When Dimitrov raised his game after going a break down early in the set, Nadal’s serve was put under tremendous pressure, to the extent that he committed some uncharacteristic unforced errors, including consecutive double faults.

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But once the Spaniard got past that difficult phase, it was business as usual. He did not let Dimitrov back into the match. Pella has the game and the mental fortitude to make life difficult for Nadal, but he will first have to ensure that he has a good start to the match and does not go down an early break.

Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in Straight Sets

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