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GAME, SET AND MATCH NADAL! 6-4 Dimitrov saves a match point with a blistering forehand down the line. What a stunning shot that is from the Bulgarian. Seems to be limping at the wrong time as he dumps a forehand into the net. An ace from Nadal completes the victory for the Spanish player in three sets. A 42nd straight win here for Nadal over the years.
BREAK NADAL 5-4! - Dimitrov fighting cramp and a string snapping in his racket. Nadal can't get there on the first break point, but he does the job on the second as his opponent sends a backhand into the net. Suddenly Nadal will serve for this match after over two hours of play.
4-4 - And on we go. Nadal level at 4-4 deep in this set. The French Open champion has really been put through a tough work-out as Dimitrov continues to let the shots flow from his racket.
DIMITROV 4-3 - No nerves whatsoever from the Bulgarian who has been exceptional today. What can Nadal do here? Didn't really see this coming after almost two hours of play.
3-3 - Nadal presses Dimitrov back to move to advantage before the Bulgarian slams a bid forehand wide of the mark. Inches wide. So near, yet so far. All level again now.
3-2 - Another game rolls by, another hold for Dimitrov who is holding his own here and then some. Not exactly a working class gathering in Monte Carlo, but the good people are enjoying their day out with Dimitrov not slipping quietly into the night.
2-2 - Some magical hitting by both men from deep. A real dogfight, but Dimitrov is making lfe decidely uncomfortable for the third seed with his timing of the tennis ball. The Bulgarian is a classy performer. Nadal does enough to hold.
DIMITROV 2-1 - A fabulous end to another fine service game from Dimitrov as he plunges a winner beyond Nadal in dropping only one point on serve. The crowd are sensing the excitement and the possibilities of a huge shock on the cards.
1-1 - Nadal restores parity by winning the second game of this third set. Quite astonishing stuff here. Nadal utterly in command in the first set, but is now involved in a real scrap to reach the last four of this tournament.
DIMITROV 1-0 - The prospects of a shock continue to gather speed as Nadal can't find the required levels to deprive Dimitrov of the opening service game of this third set. He has a backhand that resembles Federer, and at the moment is playing like the Swiss man.
GAME AND SET DIMITROV 6-2! Dimitrov gets lucky to bring up a set point with the net cord. Dimitrov lifts a ball wide seconds later. Nadal being punished for throwing in errors, and the Bulgarian is coming up with some fabulous angles to win these points. Scrambles over the line seconds later. A fabulous performance from Dimitrov to take advantage of Nadal's slight dip in breaking to level the match. He will serve in this final set.
DIMITROV 5-2 - Nadal again blows a 30-0 lead on the Dimitrov serve as the Bulgarian somehow rallies for a second straight service game. All getting very interesting here. Nadal facing a third set here which didn't look likely only 30 minutes ago. Nadal's uncle looking a bit confused by the goings on.
BREAK DIMITROV 4-2 - Really brave stuff from Dimitrov to break Nadal and move to within two sets of an unlikely triumph in this second set. Has had to come up with some stunning winners out there to combat Nadal. Dimitrov to serve with the break.
DIMITROV 3-2 - Dimitrov battles back well from a couple of stunning Nadal winners. A superb recovery to go from 0-30 down to holding. Perhaps life in this match yet. Nadal being asked some questions, but has so far come up with answers. As he usually does.
2-2 - Dimitrov coming up with a few fine returns, but he just finds the heat of Nadal's racket too hot to handle as the French Open champion creams a cracking winner down the line to level at 2-2.
DIMITROV 2-1 - Another love game from Dimitrov on serve. Promising signs from the young Bulgarian as he crushes a forehand to force Nadal back before coming to the net to convert the winning volley with Nadal out of position. Vital that he mixes matters up.
1-1 - Nadal levels on serve in the second set. Vital that Dimitrov tries to get on the front foot to hold up the charge of the Spanish player and give him something to think about.
SET NADAL 6-2 - Rory McIlroy and girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki spotted watching the action from the costly seats. Not having much to watch so far in this match. Nadal just has too much class for the young Bulgarian player.
BREAK NADAL 5-2! Normal service is resumed as Nadal breaks back straight away to move to within one game of the second set. Such an arduous task for Dimitrov with his opponent moving away from 30-30 as a forehand sped down the line with some haste. Dimitrov then pulls one wide and Nadal will serve for the first set.
BREAK DIMITROV! NADAL 4-2 - Didn't expect to see that. A stunning winner from Dimitrov brings up three break points. Nadal saves two of them, but ends up mishitting a forehand long from deep. Looking slightly perplexed. At least Dimitrov is in this match with his first break.
BREAK NADAL 4-1! And there is the double break in this opening set of the match. 17 minutes gone and Nadal bounding towards a 1-0 lead. Nadal has a bandage on a knee, but seems to be moving extremely freely. Dimitrov failing to win points he would expect to win against lesser beings.
NADAL 3-1 - Nadal just coasting through this match so far. Dimitrov having his moments, but this already looks like an assignment too much for the young Bulgarian. Nadal yet to drop a point on serve.
BREAK NADAL! Dimitrov wins a sensational point from deep with a gorgeous flashing backhand winner across court earning the applause of Nadal. Tries everything he can to keep the momentum going, but the classier hitting of Nadal begins to hold sway. Is broken for the first time today. Something suggests it won't be the last time.
1-1 - Nadal quick to restore parity at 1-1 with a smart flurry of serving and heavy hitting. Games on serve. Presure back on Dimitrov.
DIMITROV 1-0 - A solid enough start for Dimitrov against the overwhelming favourite as he slugs it out to make sure Nadal doesn't break him in the opening game of the match.
Dimitrov to serve in the opening game of the match.
Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov are out on court warming up here. Nadal chasing a ninth straight title in Monte Carlo since his first one in 2005.
|Grigor Dimitrov||Rafael Nadal|
|Haskovo||Place of birth||Manacor|
|1.88 m||Height||1.85 m|
|77 kg||Weight||85 kg|