Nadal, Coria await Monte Carlo Masters final

Spain's Rafael Nadal reaches Masters Series final beating Richard Gasquet in Monaco on Saturday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:51 IST
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Monte Carlo, Monaco:

Spain's Rafael Nadal reached his second successive Masters Series final with a gripping 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-3 win over fellow 18-year-old Richard Gasquet in Monaco on Saturday. The 11th seed had to be at his best to see off the Frenchman, who was in the swashbuckling form that saw him stun Roger Federer on Friday. The Spaniard will meet Guillermo Coria in Sunday's final after the Argentine remained on course to defend his Monte Carlo Masters title with a 6-2 7-5 win over former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero. Rain delays start Heavy rain caused the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals to be delayed on Saturday, but after a break of several hours defending champion Guillermo Coria and twice former winner Juan Carlos Ferrero walked out onto court. Ferrero, aiming for a third Monte Carlo title after victories in 2002 and 2003, made far too many errors in the first set, dumping an attempted drop shot into the net to hand Coria the opener 6-2 in 36 minutes. The tables were turned in the second set as Ferrero rediscovered his timing, forcing errors out of Coria who suddenly found himself on the back foot. Ferrero, who also lost to Coria at this year's Australian Open, looked certain to level the match as he raced into a 4-0, lead but 11th seed responded with two service breaks and then broke again at 5-5 as Ferrero crumbled. The Argentine sixth seed moved ahead 40-0 as he served for the match and Ferrero sliced a drop shot into the bottom of the net to end a disappointing contest and Coria stayed on course for a second successive Monte Carlo Masters title with a 6-2 7-5 win in one hour 31 minutes. The second semi-final was between two 18-year-olds, Spain's Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet of France. The French qualifier, who ended Roger Federer's 25-match winning streak on Friday, used his superb backhand to devastating effect as he had against Federer. He came from 5-3 down in the opening set to snatch it 8-6 on a tiebreak. Decisive set Nadal, who already has won two clay court tournaments this year, was rocked when he lost serve immediately in the second set, but he broke back twice to take the second set 6-4 and the match into a decider. Gasquet was visibly tiring after his exploits against Federer and he twice needed treatment from the trainer, the second time for leg cramps. The French teenager continued to play the more aggressive tennis, but he failed to take his opportunities when they came along against the more experienced big match player. Gasquet squandered four break points at 2-2 and another at 3-3 and there was no way back when Nadal broke in the eighth game before clinching a 6-7 6-4 6-3 victory on his second match point when Gasquet sent a backhand into the net. Nadal, two weeks older than Gasquet, became the first teenager to reach the Monte Carlo final since Andrei Medvedev in 1994. (AP)