Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nadal to face ‘difficult’ Thiem quarterfinal clash in Monaco



Nadal to face ‘difficult’ Thiem quarterfinal clash in Monaco

Rafael Nadal plays a return to Karen Khachanov in their match at the Monte Carlo ATP Masters on Thursday. AFP
Rafael Nadal plays a return to Karen Khachanov in their match at the Monte Carlo ATP Masters on Thursday. AFP

Nadal to face ‘difficult’ Thiem quarterfinal clash in Monaco

World No1 Rafael Nadal faces Dominic Thiem in a “difficult” Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinal on Friday at 6pm Cambodian time after cruising to a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Russian Karen Khachanov on Thursday.

Austria’s Thiem stunned Novak Djokovic 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday.

Nadal needs to win an 11th Monte Carlo title to stay clear of Roger Federer at the top of the world rankings, and the 16-time Grand Slam champion made short work of Khachanov.

Khachanov held his own at times in the opening set, but Nadal moved through the gears and claimed his second comfortable victory of the week after his opening win over Aljaz Bedene.

“A good victory. Straight sets against a difficult opponent. That’s the real thing,” said Nadal.

Thiem should provide a sterner test in the last eight, after the fifth seed came from a set down to beat Djokovic.

Nadal has lost twice to Thiem on clay, but produced a dominant display in the French Open semifinals last year en route to his 10th Roland Garros title.

“It’s going to be a difficult match,” the 31-year-old Nadal added.

“[He] is a player that plays so good in every surface, but especially on clay. He hits the ball hard.

“I can’t let him play from good positions because he has lot of power . . . I need to play aggressive, with a higher intensity than him, then we’ll see.”

Nadal is bidding for a record 31st Masters title and 24th on clay, and he was far too good for his 21-year-old opponent in the second set.

Thiem stuns Djokovic

Thiem, a two-time French Open semifinalist, was the better player for much of his match against Djokovic and won 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-3.

The Austrian says he will take confidence from his previous wins against Nadal into Friday’s clash.

“It’s [a] way better feeling if you go against him and know that you’ve beaten him already on this surface,” said the 24-year-old Thiem.

“But it’s the ultimate challenge for everybody, to play against him. I have to raise my level again. I think I’m able to do that.”

Former world No1 Djokovic has still not reached a quarterfinal since Wimbledon last July after struggling with a right elbow injury.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion, now ranked 13, had said he was pain-free in Monte Carlo for the first time in two years, but Thiem backed up his French Open quarterfinal win over the Serbian from last year with another impressive victory.

Earlier on Thursday, third seed Alexander Zverev came through a three-set tussle with fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

But Frenchman Richard Gasquet denied Zverev a meeting with his older brother Mischa by seeing off the serve-and-volleyer 6-2, 7-5 to claim his 500th win on the ATP Tour.

Belgian sixth seed David Goffin held off a late fightback from Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the last eight with a 6-4, 7-5 win, in a match that saw the Spaniard accidentally hit a ball boy with the ball.

Bautista Agut was given a code violation and later fined €2,500 ($3,085) for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Goffin will play fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the semifinals in a repeat of last year’s ATP Tour Finals final, after the Bulgarian came back from a set and a break down to beat Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Second seed Marin Cilic is also into the last eight, after Milos Raonic pulled out with a right knee injury before their third-round match on Thursday.

Croatia’s Cilic will take on Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals, after the Japanese continued his return to form by beating Italian qualifier Andreas Seppi 6-0, 2-6, 6-3.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol