Rafael Nadal is the man to beat on clay. Everybody in world tennis knows this. In fact, many tennis betting pundits believe he is unbeatable on the surface.
This view is backed up by the fact that Nadal today extended his unbeaten run at the Monte Carlo Masters to 34 matches with a comfortable victory over Richard Gasquet.
The Spaniard progressed to the last eight of this year’s competition, brushing aside his opponent 6-2 6-4 in a match that he rarely found himself under any pressure.
Chasing his seventh straight title win in Monte Carlo, Nadal will now face Ivan Ljubicic in the quarter-finals after the Croatian defeated fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-2.
In reality though, it doesn’t really make too much difference who Nadal faces at this stage of the tournament. As Roger Federer mentioned yesterday, the World No.1 rarely has any problems against players outside the Top 20 on clay.
Gasquet did work hard to cause an upset in the second set of Nadal’s recent match, but it was never going to be quite enough. Even if Nadal is taken down to the wire on clay, you always feel he will have the energy conserved to emerge victorious.
Referring back to Federer’s quotes from yesterday, it is worth noting how even he – a 16-time World Champion – accepts that Nadal is difficult to beat on clay.
The World No.3 said: “He’s clearly the overwhelming favourite for this tournament. We all know how good Rafa is on this surface.”
If things go according to form, those placing tennis bets will note how Federer and Nadal could meet in the Monte Carlo Masters final later this month as the build up to the French Open at Rolland Garros continues.