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Nadal enters Stuttgart final

Nadal enters Stuttgart final

Spaniard moves into a position to become a dual-surface champion

By (Agencies)

Published: Sun 14 Jun 2015, 12:37 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:17 PM

Stuttgart — Rafael Nadal moved into the position to become a dual-surface champion at the Stuttgart Open on Saturday with his 6-3, 6-4 grass-court semifinal defeat of Gael Monfils.

Victory in less than 90 minutes on the newly laid grass courts of the pre-Wimbledon event paved a path for Nadal to lift his third in Stuttgart after winning in 2005 and 2007 when the event was played on clay.

But in 2012, officials and orgnanisers at the Weissenhof club made the decision to work with the ATP to switch over to grass as part of an expanded three-week Wimbledon run-up which began this week.

Nadal owns two Wimbledon crowns and also won at Queen’s in his grass glory year of 2008.

The 29-year-old will be bidding for the 66th trophy of his career but only the second this season.

Nadal came through over Monfils on the first of two match points as the French fourth seed sailed a forehand over the baseline.

Unable to find an ace in the contest, Nadal however made no double-faults and saved all four of the break points he faced as he beat Monfils for the 11h time in 13 meetings.

The win was effortless in contrast to the struggles Nadal went through in his first two matches this week, spending a combined five hours on court to win six sets.

“I’m very happy with this performance,” said the Spaniard. “I’m slowly improving on grass. It would be fantastic to win on grass here, but I can only focus on the final and try to play my best.”

Meanwhile, teenager Belinda Bencic of Switzerland will face veteran Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the semifinals of the Topshelf Open in S-Hertogenbosch after saving three match points in a 7-6 (4), 6-7 (4), 7-5 win against seventh-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France on Friday.

The 18-year-old Bencic had match point at 6-5 in the second set, only for Mladenovic to fight back in a contest lasting nearly three hours. Mladenovic hit 16 aces and had three match points at 5-3 in the decider before Bencic surged back.

“She was serving so well, but in my head I was prepared for it,” Bencic said. “She served so many aces on important points and it’s difficult, because it puts a lot more pressure on your serve, but I was ready for it. It was just an amazing match.”

The 30-year-old Jankovic had it easier, beating German Annika Beck 6-4, 6-1. 

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