For the fourteenth consecutive time in this tournament, Rafael Nadal will be in the quarter-finals after defeating Karen Khachanov in the 1000 Masters of Monte Carlo.
Nadal immediately showed his superiority with his service game. He won nine of the first ten points of the match, reaching 4-1 with his opponent not yet able to win a point off the first serve.
Despite that clear handicap, the Russian fought back and drew to 4-3 on service. Then came the second break from the Spaniard that would help him close out the initial set.
Nadal’s opponent in the next round will be Dominic Thiem. The two players dominated the competition last year before playing each other four consecutive times: in the finals of the Open Banc Sabadell-Conde de Godo, the Madrid Open, the quarter-final of the Rome Masters and the semi-finals at Roland Garros.Thiem needed just three sets to end any resistance of Novak Djokovic, while Nadal showed his indisputable superiority over Khachanov (6-3 and 6-2), only tarnished by the break in the seventh game, where he committed two errors with the right hand.
He hasn’t failed to make the quarter-finals since 2003, when he was just 16 years old. The world No. 1 is especially good against Russian competition, as he has not lost against one since Nikolay Davydenko beat him in the semi-finals of Doha 2011.