Rafa looked a little vulnerable on Friday. Can Jo-Wilfried Tsonga be the man to end his Monte Carlo winning streak?
Tsonga has only won three of his ten matches against Nadal but after watching the Spaniard struggle past Grigor Dimitrov in three sets on Friday, he'll be feeling more confident than usual heading into this semi-final.
Dimitrov played some inspired tennis until he was hit by cramp in the latter stages of the final set with a relieved Nadal pouncing to claim a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory but the eight-time champion was troubled by his opponent's movement and shotmaking.
Tsonga was given a test of his own, reining in the in-form Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first Masters semi-final since November 2011, quite a drought for a player of his class. He'll have the backing of the home crowd against Nadal and says he has nothing to lose.
“It's an incredible challenge,” Tsonga told the press after beating Wawrinka. “He won eight times here. Anything I might achieve will be just a bonus for me. I have no longer any pain in my legs because I know I'm going to play a player that's a lot better than I am on clay. But I do have some weapons. I have everything to win and nothing to lose.”
Nadal won his last match against Tsonga 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 at the Miami Masters last year. They've only played once before on clay, in the Davis Cup back in 2011 and ominously for Tsonga it was completely one-sided - Nadal winning 6-0, 6-2, 6-4.
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