- Monte Carlo Masters
Nadal downs Djokovic for Monte Carlo title No. 8
Rafael Nadal illustrated his dominance on clay by claiming an eighth straight Monte Carlo Masters crown with a straight-sets victory over world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Nadal showed why he is so feared on the red dirt, the Spaniard out-manoeuvring his rival to seal a 6-3 6-1 triumph.
Seeking a first tournament win since the French Open last summer, Nadal knew the task in front of him having lost his previous seven meetings with Djokovic. However, if the Serb holds any mental edge over the world No. 2 it was not obvious as Nadal cantered to the title in 78 minutes.
After the first couple of games went with serve, Nadal made the breakthrough when breaking for a 2-1 lead. Both players were happy to trade at length from the back of the court, though it was the Spaniard who appeared to hold more of the aces from the baseline.
It was not surprising Djokovic was perhaps a little off colour: he has had to contend with the death of his grandfather on Thursday, and had to fight back from a set behind in two of his four previous rounds en route to a second Monte Carlo final.
With Djokovic not his usual consistent self, Nadal grew in confidence and proceeded to unleash blistering groundstrokes off both flanks. Even when Djokovic is not at full tilt he is still difficult to break down, however, the five-time grand slam champion refusing to let Nadal out of sight. But with Nadal serving so well, Djokovic failed to fashion any opportunities to break, and it was the Spaniard who made another breakthrough to seal the opening set.
Nadal firmly shut the door when breaking in the second game of the second set, quickly racing into a 4-0 lead. And, despite losing his serve in the next game, Nadal broke straight back before clinching a 42nd consecutive victory in Monaco with an ace.
After scooping a 47th ATP title, he said: "It's unbelievable to win this historic tournament eight times. I always feel great when I come here. I had lost to Novak seven times, so losing eight would not have been much different. But to win this one makes a big difference."
Djokovic offered no excuses for his below-par display, saying: "I'm sorry for my performance, Rafa played well and deserved to win today. I'm still very happy to reach the finals for the second time. This is one of my favourite events at the most beautiful centre court in the world."