Found April 17, 2013 on Fox Sports:
Rafael Nadal chalked up his 43rd consecutive victory on the red clay of the Monte Carlo Country Club with a 6-1, 6-2 win Wednesday over Australia's Marinko Matosevic -- a streak of success that has seen him win the Rolex Masters eight straight times. As yet, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic can only dream of that kind of domination of a particular tournament. Record-breaking statistics were far from the Serb's mind as he gave his injured ankle a run out against the experienced Russian Mikhail Youzhny. Djokovic came through the awkward encounter 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 but announced afterward that he had twisted his ankle again. It did not prevent him from playing any more than it had when he suffered the initial injury 10 days ago at the start of his Davis Cup match against Sam Querrey in Boise, Idaho. "Unfortunately, I had a part of the match (in the second set) where I twisted it again," said Djokovic. "But the protection, the tape, was good. So I managed to overcome that pain. For me it's important not to have a bigger risk of injuring myself and if it was not Monaco, I would consider not playing. But I enjoy this tournament very much. I'm just happy to compete, to be honest. I had ups and downs against a quality opponent but hopefully tomorrow I will be playing better." Djokovic received a warning for time violation under the 25-second rule that the ATP brought in this year. Having been caught before, Djokovic reiterated that he had no problem with the rule and admitted he was one of the slower players on the tour in that regard. "The only thing is that I think it's fair to the player to have a pre-warning as was the case in past years," he said. "If they say at a change-over, you're a bit slow, hurry up or you're going to get a time violation -- in that case, I have nothing to say. Sometimes the players don't have a sense of the time they spend on court. You're thinking of rallies, the next point, so you go over the time limit." The fact is that the rule is still too vague and requires expert umpiring to make it work. There is still the problem of not knowing exactly when the 25 seconds begins and the ATP Board will have to revisit the rule at its next meeting after talking to Roger Federer, who is president of the players' council. Nadal was glad to be back after deciding to miss Miami. "I think I played with the right intensity and played to the right places," he said. "And that gave me confidence." Confidence is a commodity that Nadal should not be short of -- he hasn't lost here since 2003 when Guillermo Coria beat him in the third round. Nadal couldn't play in 2004 because of injury, but he's won every year since. "This is a tournament I saw on TV as a kid," Nadal said. "Then I had this amazing success, I could not imagine. The place is special, very beautiful. The tournament is history. Sport needs innovations; needs new, big events but historic events like this make the tour important; make the sport bigger." Later, after another day of cloudless skies, No. 2 seed Andy Murray had a very secure start to his clay court campaign with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over the Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Coming from his ATP Masters 1000 win in Miami, Murray was pleased with his adjustment from hard courts. "It doesn't matter how much training you do, until you get the matches and the feel of how to play under pressure, it's completely different," he said. "I think the first match, you're just trying to win. You try to play solid and not take too many risks. It was good."

Nadal drops set but reaches semis

It requires something special to steal the limelight from Rafael Nadal on a clay court, but Grigor Dimitrov managed to do that in the Rolex Masters despite losing a brilliant quarterfinal encounter, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4. In the end, the Bulgarian's chances of victory were ruined, not through a lack of skill but as a result of cramps in his thigh which struck at 4-4 in the third. Dimitrov...

Nadal advances to Monte Carlo semis

Rafael Nadal was pushed all the way by Grigor Dimitrov to win his 45th straight match at the Monte Carlo Masters, reaching the semifinals with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 result on Friday. Nadal dropped only his third set in his last five tournaments here, the previous times against Andy Murray in the 2011 semifinals and before that against Novak Djokovic in the 2009 final, and he was under...

Nadal continues Monte Carlo win streak

Rafael Nadal extended his winning streak at the Monte Carlo Masters to 43 matches, beating Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 6-2 Wednesday in the second round. The eight-time defending champion nearly trailed 3-0 in the second set, but he saved break points before taking control of the match. The third-seeded Nadal will face Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in the third round. Later, top...

Djokovic Survives, Nadal Romps, Murray Advances in Monte-Carlo

(April 17, 2013) Rafael Nadal began his quest for a ninth Monte-Carlo Masters title on Wednesday by extending his winning streak thereto 43, while No. 1 Novak Djokovic was extended to three sets on a shaky ankle. The eight-time had few problems with Marinko Matosevic, dispatching the Australian 6-1, 6-2. “I played well at the [...]

Nadal through to Monte Carlo final

Eight-time defending champion Rafael Nadal recorded his 46th consecutive win at the Monte Carlo Masters by beating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 7-6 (3) Saturday to reach the final. The Spaniard has reached five straight finals since returning from a seven-month layoff following a left knee injury. He will face the winner of Saturday's later semifinal between top-ranked...

Nadal wins again in Monte Carlo

Eight-time defending champion Rafael Nadal extended his Monte Carlo Masters winning streak to 44 matches by beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-4 in the third round. The third-seeded Nadal did not face a single break point and will play Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov. Nadal clipped a forehand winner past him to break and held at love to move up 5-3 in the second set. The Spaniard...

Djokovic, Nadal, Tsonga and Fognini Move Into Monte-Carlo Semifinals

  (April 19, 2013) Rafael Nadal extended his Monte-Carlo win streak to 45 in a row by getting past Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 on Friday to move into the semifinals of Monaco to keep hopes of a ninth straight title alive. Top seed Novak Djokovic had a straight sets win over Jarkko Nieminen, Jo-Wilfried [...]

Murray's mistakes force quick exit

With varying degrees of confidence, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic reached the quarter finals of the Rolex ATP Masters here but world No. 2 Andy Murray suffered a stunning set back, losing 6-1, 6-2 to Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka in just 58 minutes. Murray, who will drop back to No. 3 on Monday as a result of this loss, usually takes time to adjust to clay and has, in fact,...

Djokovic Advances, Nadal Cruises, Murray, Berdych and Del Potro Upset in Monte-Carlo

  (April 18, 2013) Eight-time defending  Monte-Carlo Masters champion Rafael Nadal extended his winning streak at the tournament to 44 matches, while No. 1 Novak Djoovic had to rally from a set down for a second straight day to move into the quarterfinals. No. 2 seed Andy Murray was not so fortunate falling to No. [...]

Dr. Nadal, the Villain of Monte Carlo

by James A. Crabtree The documentations decree that a Bond baddie must often appear amicable at first, preferable have an accent, seek world revenge or domination and hang out in playgrounds of the rich. Therefore dear old Rafa could well be the quintessential James Bond baddie. Just for a moment imagine Dr. Rafa stroking a white cat, sitting on a swivel chair overlooking a giant...

Isner's stay at Monte Carlo cut short

While Novak Djokovic was deciding to risk his recently injured ankle and play in the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters, John Isner was realizing he had taken a leap too far in trying to play here -- 5,410 miles from the scene of his title-winning triumph in Houston on Sunday. After winning the first set against Latvia's Ernests Gulbis, Isner lost a bit of potency on his thundering serve...

A Beautiful Day On A Perfect Court

Monte Carlo’s Court Central is among the most picturesque in the world. The Monte Carlo Masters is now officially two rounds old. As ever it has achieved a heady alchemy of the wearyingly familiar and the edifyingly refreshing. In the former category may be found Rafael Nadal’s annual disavowal of his own favouritism, which would carry more credence if it wasn’t delivered from...
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