The King Of clay Reigns again. Rafael Nadal broke his 11 month winless record by winning the Monte Carlo 1000 event. Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 in 86 minutes. He became the first person in the open era to win a tournament six times in a row. Nadal won his 37th title earning 1000 ATP points and 434,000 Euros. Verdasco picked up 600 points and 203,000 Euros for his efforts.
Nadal now has 16 ATP Masters titles equaling Federer and just one behind all time leader Andre Agassi. In this form, it won’t be long before that record too is his. An emotional Nadal said that he felt at home in Monte Carlo and he always felt that the crowd supported him. It was his favorite tournament. Nadal was in tears after the final victory as he finally ended a long title drought. He will undoubtedly need an emotional break as well after this win. Nadal’s dad, Sebastian was on court to watch his son win the title.
Rafael Nadal made an ominous statement in the very first game by breaking verdasco’s serve at love. In the second game, Nadal hit an amazing backhand passing shot on the full run that evoked memories of his brilliant play in the past. He has raised a warning to his fellow contenders that he remains the man to beat on clay. However Nadal’s next big test will come in the next few weeks against the likes of Federer, Soderling, Del Potro and Davydenko.
Despite the score line, Verdasco was not disgraced. He played reasonably well but was no match for the brilliant tennis from Nadal on the day. Nadal had this to say about his performance “Probably one of my best (performances) on clay. One of my best levels on clay for sure.” Nadal won his 32nd consecutive match at Monte Carlo. He lost only 14 games during the course of five matches in the tournament.
Fernando Verdasco continued to fight but was outclassed. Verdasco had five break points on Nadal’s serve in the sixth game of the second set and one point saw him raise his arms to the heavens after winning a spectacular rally in which Nadal refused to give up and chased everything down. This rally sparked a Standing ovation from the crowd and even Prince Albert was on his feet. After the match, Verdasco said that “If he plays like this, no one can beat him”.
Verdasco joked that he hoped that Nadal would get tired of winning Monte Carlo and give the others a chance. Nadal should be able to challenge for the No.1 Ranking again this year if he stays healthy.
In the doubles event, top seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic won the final to successfully defend their Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title on Sunday. The score line read 6-3, 2-0 in favor of the top seeds when the fifth seeded pairing of Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi had to pull out to a left leg injury sustained by Bhupathi.
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