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Djokovic outclasses Nadal for title

ESPN staff
April 21, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Novak Djokovic claimed his first Monte Carlo Masters title at the third time of asking © Getty Images
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Novak Djokovic denied Rafael Nadal a ninth consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title, producing an impressive performance to dominate the Spaniard on clay and take a 6-2 7-6(1) victory.

Victory for world No. 1 Djokovic ended a ten-year, 46-match unbeaten streak in Monaco for Nadal, as well as crowning the Serb's third victory on clay over the Spaniard.

Not even an early rain delay in Monaco could disrupt number-one seed Djokovic producing a fantastic performance on the red dirt, as the 27-year-old stormed into a 5-0 lead in the first set following an early break and a superb forehand to save his own serve at deuce.

Third-seed Nadal was left watching the tape as the ball landed his side to give Djokovic the double-break, but a scintillating rally saw the world No. 5 scrape back into the set at 5-1 before a rare Djokovic error handed him the break.

However, Djokovic continued in relentless manner, sending a lob over the defending champion to claim the set in dominating fashion.

The second proved to be a tighter affair, both players holding their first two service games before Nadal edged ahead to 4-2 with a break following a service winner. However, Djokovic responded with a hold before forcing Nadal into another error on his backhand to level the second set once more.

With Nadal 6-5 ahead, the Spaniard was serving for the second set but Djokovic took it into a tiebreak following two powerful forehand winners with a clean-cut backhand. Djokovic took full momentum into it, forcing his opponent into an early error for the break before dominating the next two rallies.

Nadal misjudged two forehands to give Djokovic full advantage at 5-1, before the Serb hit a perfect return to all-but-seal victory. And with a final forehand, Djokovic claimed the title at the third time of asking, ending the Spaniard's 46-match unbeaten run in Monaco.

"It's a great pleasure to be here," said Djokovic, after his win. "It's a magnificent moment, very, very special, because I live here and have a lot of support. Rafa, it was a pleasure once again and thank you for letting me win at least once.

"I cannot wish for a better start of the clay season. I spend a lot of time in Monaco so I know a lot of people, we became friends over many years, and its definitely the most beautiful club in the world.

"I'm very privileged to be playing in it. I didn't know if I was going to be able to play this year, and right now it's the best decision of my life."

Nadal was quick to praise both his opponent and the messages of support he received during his seven month lay-off while recovering from a knee injury.

"Congratulations Novak, what you're doing is amazing," Nadal said. "Congratulations for winning my favourite tournament and good luck for the rest of the season.

"Thank you very much all my team for supporting me, the last year was especially hard for me, all the messages I received was very positive for me and a motivation to be playing on this fantastic court again."

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