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Nadal through to Monte Carlo final

Nadal through to Monte Carlo final

BC-TEN-Monte Carlo Masters, 4th Ld-Writethru, 582Nadal wants extra practice after reaching Monte Carlo finalAP Photo XVK120, XVK119, ENA106, XVK106, XVK106, XVK137, XVK140, XVK128Eds: Updates with different approach.

Grigor Dimitrov has a lot going for him.

"It is not a normal result". Nishikori has actually won two of the last four matches against Nadal.

That will change next week and Novak will try to challenge the 10-time victor Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, trying to shape up his form and make an even better preparation for the upcoming Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome.

However, the typically modest Nadal praised himself a little, too. "It has been a great day for me, and a very good result against a very hard rival", said Nadal. "It is hard to play better than today".

"Being honest, I have to recognise that".

Nadal is playing in his first ATP tournament since pulling out of his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic in January with a hip injury, but has shown no signs of rust in the principality.

That effectively ended Dimitrov's chances, and Nadal broke to love twice in a row in the second set before a wide Dimitrov backhand completed yet another comfortable victory. He needs to win this tournament to keep his No. 1 ranking, or it will go back to Roger Federer.

Thiem was wilting in the sweltering conditions and under the pressure from the other side of the net, and then back-to-back miscued forehands saw him lose an eighth straight game.

"The Davis Cup probably helped to come here with better rhythm, better confidence", Nadal said. I think that's good.

The fourth-seeded Bulgarian beat No. 6 David Goffin 6-4, 7-6 (5) in an error-strewn match.

It looked a straightforward afternoon for the 31-year-old Spaniard when he clinched the first three games but Dimitrov worked his way back with a quick break to make it 3-3.

The field has been boosted by the late entry of former world number one Novak Djokovic. The German player looked jaded, having finished a long and grueling quarterfinal at 9 p.m. on Friday.

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