Rafael Nadal sank to his knees as he defeats Gael Monfils with a brilliant forehand winner at the Monte Carlo Masters grand final by 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 to claim his 28th Masters title.
But it was not all smooth sailing for the Spaniard; Nadal had to overcome a rather shaky serve to earn his points against the Frenchman. Both conceded 34 breaks points in between, but Nadal converts eight of his 21 chances to edge his opponent, although Monfils showed a better ratio with 13 out of 5.
Monfils also earned the backing of his home crowd as he made challenges against Nadal throughout. But having earlier saved set point, the pressure took its toll on the Frenchman and he double-faulted to hand fifth seed Nadal a close-fought opening set.
The pair traded five breaks of serve in a gruelling second set, but it was Monfils who edged the former world number one to level. Nadal then took control of the decider and raced into a 5-0 lead, and simply ended with his winner.
The record was Nadal’s 28th Masters title, and the increase in his tally moves him alongside Novak Djokovic. It was also his first Monte Carlo win here since 2012, when he had been winning it for eight consecutive years.
The Serbian had been beaten in the same tournament by 22-year-old Jiri Vesely, a Czech national. Vesely was then defeated at the hands of by Monfils.
After his win at the Monte Carlo Country Club, Rafael Nadal used “so special” to describe his first Masters title since Madrid two years ago.
“I had a tough season last year, but I’ve had better preparation this year – even with a tough start to the season,” he added. “It’s great to win a Masters title again. I hope this week will help me a lot.”