MONACO (AP) — Monte Carlo is not Rafael Nadal’s playground anymore, and Novak Djokovic is claiming the throne left vacant by the King of Clay.
For the second time in three years, the top-ranked Serb ended Nadal’s run at the clay-court Masters tournament, overcoming a strong challenge from the Spaniard to reach the final with a 6-3, 6-3 win.
Djokovic, who extended his current winning streak to 16 matches, will face sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych as he bids for a second title in the principality after ending Nadal’s eight-year reign in 2013.
Djokovic has lost only two matches this year as he reigns over the men’s game, raising his hopes that he can knock Nadal off his perch at the French Open, where Djokovic hopes to achieve a career Grand Slam.
“It’s hard to say right now. One victory does not change everything that he has achieved on this surface, which is much more than me,” Djokovic said. “I still don’t think that I am a better player than he is on clay. But I’m obviously trying my best to win all the matches that I play, not just against him but against anybody on any surface. That’s the kind of mindset that I have.”
With Prince Albert of Monaco among the onlookers, both players produced some stunning tennis as Nadal showed glimpses of his old self, mixing aggression and superb defensive shots.
But the nine-time French Open champion, who is struggling to get back to his best after a
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