Melzer stuns Federer


MONTE CARLO – Top seed Rafael Nadal won his 35th consecutive match at the Monte Carlo Masters by crushing Ivan Ljubicic 6-1, 6-3 on Friday to set up a repeat semi-final with resurgent Andy Murray. Murray has recovered from a four-match losing streak to record third victories in the principality.
The Scot put out Portugal’s Frederico Gil 6-2, 6-1 to reach his second semi-final in the last three tournaments here. He lost to Nadal at the same stage in 2009. “We both played well in the second set,” said the Scot. “I had started to find the right way to play against him. “I got close, but I have to play better than that if I want to win.
“I always enjoy playing on clay, but I’ve never felt confident with my movement here. Now I’m feeling a lot better. “I played well in my three matches, it’s a great start to the clay season. I have to play well if I’m to get a win against Rafa.” Like Roger Federer, who was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by Jurgen Melzer, Nadal was tested by windy conditions.
“It was a very difficult day to play tennis,” said the Spaniard, who is seeking a seventh straight trophy in the event. “There was a lot of wind changing directions all the time. “It was a positive victory for me. I had to adjust a lot the shots today. It was very difficult. But in general, I didn’t have mistakes.” Melzer, a straight-sets loser to Federer three times last season, will play his semi-final against Spanish fourth seed David Ferrer, who beat Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-3.
Nadal improved to a phenomenal 37-1 record at the venue, with his only loss coming to Guillermo Coria on his debut in 2003. Former world number three Ljubicic had lost four straight matches prior to this week, but bounced back by beating 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and number five seed Tomas Berdych.