Nadal Shellacks Djokovic to Win Monte Carlo Masters

by John on April 22, 2012

Today was always going to be about the eights. It was just a question of who would get the eight. Rafael Nadal, his eighth straight championship at Monte Carlo, or Novak Djokovic, his eighth consecutive win over the No. 2-ranked Spaniard? Nadal answered the question in decisive fashion Sunday afternoon, defeating the top-ranked Serb 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters for his first title since the 2011 French Open. The win improved Nadal’s record to 33-4 in clay-court finals and was his 42nd victory in a row at the Monte Carlo Country Club. With his 20th Masters Series title, Nadal broke a tie with Roger Federer for the most Masters trophies all-time. Nadal was in the zone for all but a few minutes of the one-hour and 18-minute match. Comfortably ahead 4-0 in the second set, the Spaniard dropped his serve at love in the next game. But that was his only hiccup of the afternoon. “To start the clay-court season winning here is an amazing feeling,” Nadal said. “This tournament is very special for me. My level of tennis was very high during the last four matches, since the second round.” Playing with confidence and gusto from the outset, Nadal broke Djokovic in the third and ninth games to comfortably take the first set. With a set in hand, Rafa kept the pressure on, breaking Djokovic all three time he served in the second set. Up 5-1, with the match on his racket, Nadal punctuated the win with an ace on championship point. Clearly the Spaniard was happy, but also relieved. “I had lost to Novak seven times, so losing eight would not have been much different,” Nadal said. “But to win this one makes a big difference.” Nadal served impeccably, winning 74 percent of the points on his first and second serves to just 46 percent for Djokovic. The Spaniard hit 16 winners and committed a mere 10 unforced errors. Djokovic’s numbers were 11 and 25 respectively. “I’m sorry for my performance, Rafa played well and deserved to win today,” Djokovic said. “I just didn’t have any emotional energy left in me. I was there physically, game-wise I was playing OK throughout the week. But it was a bad day. If I wanted to have any chance of winning against Rafa on clay, I needed that extra gear, which I didn’t have.”

 

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