Nadal's clay-court mastery proves too much for Ferrer

The prince and the president were in town yesterday, but at the Monte Carlo Country Club there is only one ruler. While Prince Albert of Monaco was meeting Nicolas Sarkozy on the French president's first official visit to the principality, Rafael Nadal, the king of clay, was lording it over David Ferrer here in the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters.

If Roger Federer's victory in Hamburg 13 months ago proved that Nadal is not invincible on clay – it ended his 81-match unbeaten sequence on the surface – the Spaniard is looking more than capable of building another lengthy winning run. Having followed that defeat at the hands of his great rival with victories in his two subsequent clay-court tournaments in 2007, at Roland Garros and in Stuttgart, Nadal has hit the dirt running this year.

The world No 2 dropped only eight games in his first two contests here, against Mario Ancic and Juan-Carlos Ferrero, and will see his 6-1, 7-5 victory over Ferrer as even more significant. Ferrer, the world No 5, would probably have been voted the game's most improved player last year but for Novak Djokovic and had also beaten Nadal in their two previous meetings, at last year's US Open and Tennis Masters Cup.

Nadal, however, has used this tournament as the springboard for his domination of the clay-court season for the past three years and clearly has his eyes set on becoming the first player since the New Zealander Anthony Wilding in 1914 to win the title here for a fourth year in succession.

Having been swept aside in 32 minutes in the first set, Ferrer recovered to break Nadal twice at the start of the second and take a 3-0 lead but let his opponent off the hook with errors when serving at 5-3 and 40-0. Four games later Nadal converted his first match point in spectacular fashion, chasing down Ferrer's stop volley before crashing a superb forehand winner down the line. Nadal will now play Nikolay Davydenko, the world No 4, who took two and three-quarter hours to overcome Igor Andreev 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

Nadal has beaten Federer in the past two Monte Carlo finals and a third meeting is possible, although the world No 1 has to find a way past Djokovic, a 6-4, 6-0 winner yesterday over the American Sam Querrey. Although Djoko-vic, the world No 3, has been the most successful player this year, Federer will have every reason for confidence after a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory over David Nalbandian.

The Swiss, who had been 5-1 down in the final set against the journeyman Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo only 48 hours earlier, looked in excellent form against the Argentine. Federer converted all five of his break points and is striking the ball with a confidence that is increasing with every day.

*Andy Murray has confirmed that he will play in the clay-court tournament in Barcelona next week.

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup