Rafael Nadal not satisfied after reaching 12th Monte Carlo final

Clearly a perfectionist Rafael Nadal is not resting on his laurels ahead of the final against Kei Nishikori.
Updated 21 April 2018
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Rafael Nadal not satisfied after reaching 12th Monte Carlo final

  • Super Spaniard looking for a record-breaking 11th Monte Carlo Masters title.
  • Nadal faces Japan's Kei Nishikori in Sunday's final.

Rafael Nadal’s priority after reaching his 12th Monte Carlo Masters final was to whip out his phone and frantically text coach Carlos Moya.
Despite a comfortable 6-4, 6-1 win against No. 5-ranked Grigor Dimitrov, he had a pressing concern given how quickly he was texting.
What frantic emergency could command such attention?
“I was texting Carlos to tell him that we need to book a court quick,” Nadal said. “I wanted to hit some forehands winners that I think I need for tomorrow.”
So the top-ranked Nadal, a 10-time French Open champion with 75 career titles, hurried to another clay court just for forehand practice ahead of Sunday’s final against Kei Nishikori, an opponent he has beaten nine times out of 11.
While it may seem absurd, it is a reminder of the relentless perfectionist Nadal is even on his best surface.
No matter that he has not dropped a set in six matches since coming back from a recurrence of a right hip injury; he is more focused on ironing out even the smallest of flaws.
Even though he crushed Dimitrov, as he had Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals on Friday, Nadal was not satisfied.
“I really had a lot of chances in the first set to have (a) little bit better score. I didn’t convert (them),” he said. “The only way to hold the level, and to hold the chances to keep winning after 10, 12 years, is to improve things.”
He remains on course for a record-extending 11th Monte Carlo title and record 31st Masters. He shares the Masters record with Novak Djokovic, whose 30 wins include two here.
Nishikori, who is making an encouraging return from a serious right-wrist injury, beat No. 4 Alexander Zverev 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s getting there,” said Nishikori, who has missed the past two majors because of a torn tendon. “Little bit sore still.”
Nishikori won on his first match point when Zverev scooped a backhand wide. The German player looked jaded, having finished a long and grueling quarterfinal at 9 p.m. on Friday.
Nishikori has never won a Masters and last reached a final two years ago in Montreal. He beat Nadal in their last encounter two years ago to take the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
He knows it will be a different challenge toppling him in Monte Carlo.
“He’s been dominating crazy this week,” Nishikori said. “On clay he’s the king.”
Nadal never looked imperious as he beat Dimitrov for the 11th time in 12 career meetings.
“In the second set, he started to miss more,” Nadal said modestly. “I was there solid. That’s all.
“Being in 12 finals already here is something difficult to imagine,” added Nadal, who has lost only one, to Djokovic in 2013.
Dimitrov came out firing, but he was mostly more miss than hit.
The Bulgarian cracked trying to serve for 5-5. He made consecutive double faults and hit a wild forehand long to trail 15-40. He saved one set point but Nadal was in ruthless mode and took the next chance.
Two consecutive love breaks and three easy holds made it 5-0 to Nadal in the second set.
Nadal’s victory at Monte Carlo last year made him the first men’s tennis player in the Open era to win the same title 10 times. He then won a 10th title at Barcelona and at Roland Garros.


Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath to retire from international cricket after Galle Test against England

Updated 22 October 2018
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Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath to retire from international cricket after Galle Test against England

  • Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement on Monday that Herath announced his decision at a meeting with cricket board officials
  • The 40-year-old Herath made his test debut in 1999 and has played 92 tests with 430 wickets

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka spin bowler Rangana Herath will retire from international cricket next month after the first Test against England.
Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement on Monday that Herath announced his decision at a meeting with cricket board officials.
“We respect and support Rangana’s decision, even though his retirement will be a big loss for Sri Lanka Cricket,” SLC chief executive Ashley de Silva said.
The 40-year-old Herath made his Test debut in 1999 and has played 92 Tests with 430 wickets. He has already retired from shorter formats.
Despite a promising start to his career, Herath’s chances to represent Sri Lanka were limited for the next decade because of the presence of record-breaking bowler Muttiah Muralitharan in the team.
Herath, however, persisted with good performances in domestic cricket and by playing for clubs in England.
He was recalled unexpectedly to the national team for a test match against Pakistan while playing in England in 2009 and immediately made an impact with a match-winning performance. It marked the beginning of a highly successful second phase of his career during which he took on the mantle of a match winner from Muralitharan, who retired with 800 Test wickets in 2010.
During the second phase, Herath played in 78 Tests in nine years and took 394 wickets to become the most successful left arm spinner in Test cricket history. He is 10th in the list of highest wicket takers in Test matches.
Herath has 74 wickets in one-day internationals and 18 wickets in Twenty 20 internationals.
The first Test against England will begin in Galle on Nov. 6.