Nadal Trounces Verdasco for Monte Carlo Crown

by John on April 18, 2010

The Clay Master is back. Truth be known, he never went away. Rafael Nadal won his sixth straight Monte Carlo Masters earlier today, thrashing fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 in a brutal display of punishing clay-court tennis. The title was Nadal’s first since May of last year, when he won the Rome Masters. Nadal dropped only 14 games in five matches during the week as he became the first player in the modern era to win the same tournament six straight years. The championship was the 37th of Nadal’s career and bumped his clay-court record to 159-6 since 2005. That’s right, 159-6. “It was emotional for me today, it was my best week for a long time,” said Nadal, who improved to 21-4 on the year. “It’s unbelievable, Monte Carlo is my favorite tournament.” Nadal has now won 32 consecutive matches at Monte Carlo, the first tournament of the European clay-court swing leading up to the French Open in late May. The second-seeded Nadal suffered through an injury-plagued season in 2009, and so far this year had been struggling to regain his winning edge, losing one final, two semifinals and a quarterfinal. There were no struggles today. Nadal never lost his serve, won six of 14 break points, hit 16 winners to 14 for Verdasco, and had only 14 unforced errors to his opponent’s 32. The point differential was a lopsided 63-35 in Nadal’s favor. Still, Verdasco didn’t play that badly. He just couldn’t get anything past the World No. 3, who was virtually impenetrable. “If you see the score, [there] is a big difference,” Verdasco said. “But in some games I had some chances to be closer, to make him think a little bit more. But I think he had an unbelievable day and he played really good. I also didn’t maybe have a good day, because I was trying to force and made some more mistakes than usual.” The sixth-seeded Verdasco now has an 0-10 record against his Spanish compatriot. “I hope one day Rafa gets tired of winning here,” Verdasco said.

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