Eight-time Monte Carlo Masters Champion Rafael Nadal was eliminated from the tournament on Friday by David Ferrer, who advanced to the semifinals with a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory over his fellow countryman.
Nadal committed a number of uncharacteristic mistakes, including 44 unforced errors and had his serve broken four different times as Ferrer came out on the attack all match. It was the first time since 2004 that Ferrer beat Nadal on clay surface; a day after Nadal grabbed his 300th victory on clay.
Nadal’s unforced errors caused him to wither during the first set tie break, and gave the first set to Ferrer. Trailing 5-2 in the second set, Nadal did battle back to make it 5-4, but the errors continued to mount and became too much to overcome as he was handed his earliest exit from the Monte Carlo Masters since 2003.
Ferrer now moves on to face off with 2014 Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka who battled through a long and grueling first set to overcome Canadian Milos Raonic, beating him in straight sets 7-6(5), 6-2.
Wawrinka didn’t face a single break point all match, but the first set had to go to a tie-break. The Swiss native trailed 3-0 and 5-3 at points in the tiebreaker, but Raonic had his serve broken twice, unable to capitalize on the opportunity.
Wawrinka would go on to win the set and take the second set 6-2 as he pushed past Raonic into the semifinals, his first semifinal appearance since capturing the Australian Open championship.
"I was really focused on my serve to be really aggressive from the first shot, to make him move, to make him work every ball," said Wawrinka. "I just feel strong from the baseline. I feel good physically. I know that on clay courts, if I play my best tennis, I can beat those guys."