When will Rafa be fully back? Points like this say his best form may be close
Rafael Nadal vs. Juan Monaco
I’d be a fool to say Nadal is not the favorite in this match. I still don’t think it will be easy. Monaco is a true pro in terms of his preparation, willingness to complete, and his conditioning. Rafa does not yet look like he has hit his clay court stride. Rafa dropped a set in the Rio quarters and then lost a lead in the semis. Today versus Carlos Berlocq, Rafa saved 5 set points to win the first set and came from an early break down to win the second set. Rafa’s comeback in the first set and winning the final 6 games of the second set might have him feeling like his old self. Still, if Rafa plays at his current level, I think this match will at least be taxing for Rafa as Monaco is a stout competitor. Monaco, an Argentine, is playing in front of a Buenos Aires crowd and is unhappy with Argentina’s Davis Cup situation. Winning versus the King of Clay would send a strong message to his fans and to the Argentine Davis Cup leadership.
My Prediction: Rafal Nadal d. Juan Monaco 3-6, 6-2, 6-3