Nadal is out of Monte Carlo - beaten by Italy’s Fabio Fognini

Nadal topples Dimitrov Novak Djokovic cruises through

Rafael Nadal said he produced one of the worst clay-court performances of his career after crashing to a shock defeat to Fabio Fognini at the Monte-Carlo Masters.

Although Nadal still gave Fognini credit, he described his performance as "one of my worst matches on clay in 14 years" and said he "deserved to lose". I prepared for this final as best I could, I knew it would be tough, since Dusan has my ex-coach (Jose Perlas).

Nadal had won 18 successive matches on the Monte Carlo clay but never looked like he was going to make it 19 after losing the first set to Fognini, who now has four career victories over Nadal in 15 meetings. Then I played better.

"It is more hard to hold the same level every single day when you don't have confidence in tournaments in a row or matches in a row".

"Reaching the semi-final again means a lot to me, I hope this win will help me".

"Plus Lajovic is trained by my ex-coach - we laughed about that in the locker room". Since then, Nadal has been in 11 more finals, winning it ten times and falling short to Novak Djokovic in 2013.

The 10th-seeded Medvedev could not respond as wind gusts swept across centre court and Lajovic quickly moved 4-0 up in the second set against a frustrated opponent, who bowed out on the second match point.

But the 13th seed would not be denied, earning another pair of chances in the eighth game and claiming victory with a forehand victor down the line.

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The Spaniard will face off in Saturday's semi-finals against Italian Fabio Fognini, who came back to beat Croatia's ninth seed Borna Coric 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

"I'm making the top guys realise it's not easy to play me".

"Of course it's a surprise to play Lajovic, but he's playing good".

Fognini broke for a 3-2 lead in the second set when Lajovic hit a forehand wide.

"All of that doesn't matter now - I'm in the final". But looking at "average" levels of the two players over the last 12 months, there's not much between the two players, and therefore it is hard not to consider the [2.68] about the Serbian to get an unlikely (at the start of the week) first Masters title. "I really want to win this title now".

There's no match history between these two players.

"I was lucky to win two (second-set) games to avoid an even worse score", he admitted. "I was completely out of rhythm, to start".

"I was lucky at 4-1, he had two points to be 5-1 and with 5-1 it's nearly impossible", Nadal admitted.

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