Rafael Nadal reaches final, seeks 10th title at Monte Carlo Masters
The 10th-seeded Goffin had early momentum, but it was halted by a controversial decision by chair umpire Cedric Mourier in the sixth game. Goffin was asked to replay a point after holding his serve for what would have been a 4-2 lead.
After being taken to deuce three times Goffin finally held — or so he thought — when Nadal hit a return too long. However, Mourier overruled the line judge and called it in, meaning the point had to be replayed.
Goffin could not believe it and nor could the crowd, who jeered loudly. Video replays showed it was out, but with no Hawkeye technology used on clay, the Belgian player could not challenge the call.
Nadal won the next point with a drop shot and the crowd, incensed by the incorrect call, jeered again. Goffin won the next point for advantage again, but wasted it.
After Goffin saved a break point — with the crowd chanting “David, David” — Nadal forged another break-point chance and won the game when Goffin patted it meekly into the net.
Goffin continued to complain to Mourier after the set. Nadal went off court for a break and jeers filled the air when he came back on — a rarity considering he is a crowd favorite here.
After winning the second set, Nadal’s celebration was muted and he sympathetically hugged Goffin at the net. Nadal shook Mourier’s hand, but Goffin did not and walked straight past him to pick up his bags.
Nadal is through to his fourth final of the season. He lost the other three, two of them to Roger Federer.
The other finalist, Ramos-Vinolas, has lost his two previous matches against Nadal, has reached his first Masters final, and won only one title. Nadal is bidding for his 70th.
Ramos-Vinolas took the first set from Pouille when he broke the 11th-seeded Frenchman to love, concluding with a smash at the net.
Pouille played his best tennis in the second set, but he seemed to struggle physically in the deciding set as, trailing 3-0, he needed treatment to his lower back and hip during a changeover.