The rising Russian star Andrey Rublev beat the Spanish clay court champion Rafael Nadal in his quarter-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday in an astonishing surprise.

The Russian showed nerves of steel to score a surprising 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win over the Spaniard.

And while Nadal has won the competition eleven times, the win is the first time Rublev has reached the semifinals.

In sixth, the story was not in favor of the 23-year-old who got into the clash.

After GOAT candidate Nadal Rublev had already defeated twice in his ATP Head2Head meetings, he was able to show a 73-5 record in one of his most dominant tournaments.

Rublev fans, who hit the second set in a 74-minute endurance test, feared that Clay Nadal’s comeback king would take home the win.

But in one of his best career shows, the Muscovite got the job done in two hours and 33 minutes, preparing a meeting with Casper Rudd for a place in the finals.

The Norwegian put together his own surprise on Friday and sent reigning champion Fabio Fognini 6: 4, 6: 3 to reach the last four.

With tennis enthusiasts welcoming an “instant classic” between Rublev and Nadal, it was particularly hoped that “this is a sign that someone other than Nadal can win the French Open next month”.

“Epic victory for Rublev!” Said another. “Breathtaking! Congratulations!”

“Is Monte Carlo the beginning of the end of BIG 3?” She asked, referring to the possible dwindling strengths of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

World number eight Rublev has been on a steady upward trend since late 2019 and has eight senior career titles, including five that began in 2020 alone.

He added the Rotterdam Open crown to his name back in March this year and will look for further successes in Monte Carlo after sacking Nadal.