RAFAEL Nadal’s 30-match claycourt winning streak ended yesterday when the world No 1 was stunned 7-6, 6-4 by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer who executed a perfect gameplan to reach the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals.
Sixth seed Ferrer, who had beaten Nadal on clay only once – a decade ago – and was brushed aside by the muscular left-hander in the French Open final last year, relied on his devastating forehand to prevail.
Nadal, who made an uncharacteristic string of unforced errors, was looking to recapture his Monte Carlo crown after Novak Djokovic had ended his eight-year reign in last year’s final – his last defeat on the slow surface.
Ferrer said: “I have had to wait ten years to beat him on clay. It was a long wait but I am pleased with the win and the way I played.
“I spoke with my coach and we had a clear gameplan, but with Rafa it’s always tough because he doesn’t allow you to follow it.
“The good thing was I was able to deal with his attacks and stay strong physically for the whole match.”
A disappointed Nadal said: “I didn’t play the right way. I didn’t play with the right intensity with my forehand.
“I played too short. I gave him the chance to have the control of the point almost all the time.”
Ferrer will next face Stanislas Wawrinka, who dismissed Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic 7-6, 6-2 in his quarter-final.
Roger Federer, seeded fourth, got off to a sluggish start but saw off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 to set up a meeting with second seed Djokovic or Spaniard Guillermo Garcia Lopez.
Federer made a series of backhand errors as Tsonga pinned him behind the baseline with his flat forehand, but regained composure in the tiebreak of the second set.
Tsonga then lost five games in a row and Federer finally converted a break point at the 16th attempt as he marched towards the last four.