MONTE CARLO (Monaco) (AFP) - Rafael Nadal crushed fifth seed Dominic Thiem 6-0, 6-2 to romp into the Monte Carlo Masters semi-finals on Friday (April 20), as he stepped up his bid for an 11th title in style.
A tight match had been anticipated, but Nadal produced one of the most dominant wins of his career as Thiem fell to pieces in the Monaco sunshine.
The Austrian did not get on the scoreboard until the 10th game, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
But it was a ruthless performance from the 16-time Grand Slam champion, who has to successfully defend the title this week to remain ahead of Roger Federer at the top of the world rankings.
Nadal will face Grigor Dimitrov in the last four on Saturday, but the Bulgarian will need a massive improvement from his win over David Goffin if he is to stand a chance against the 10-time champion here.
The Bulgarian benefited from a second-set collapse by David Goffin to reach the semi-finals for the first time with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) victory.
The 26-year-old got the better of a nervy Goffin in a repeat of last year's ATP Tour Finals final.
Dimitrov has struggled on clay in the past and has never passed the French Open third round, but he was too strong for Goffin in the sunshine.
Fourth seed Dimitrov edged a tight opening set after failing to serve for it as Goffin produced a poor service game at 4-5 down, before the Belgian recovered to race into a 5-1 lead in the second.
But Goffin wasted three set points on his own serve as he tightened up on the most important points, and Dimitrov broke twice to force a tie-break.
The world No. 5 wrapped up victory in the breaker on his second match point to claim one of the best wins of his career on clay.