Rafael Nadal continued his dominance at the Monte Carlo Masters as the Spaniard won his seventh consecutive title in the principality with a straight-sets victory over compatriot David Ferrer.
The absence of the inform Novak Djokovic took the gloss off a polished week for the Spaniard. The Serb, unable to play this week due to injury, has started the season in sensational form and seems the most likely competition to Nadal’s dominance in the French Open.
Nadal, the undisputed master of clay took two hours 16 minutes to complete the win, though Ferrer made it tough for his opponent. The win marks Nadal’s 44th career trophy, 30 of which have come on clay, but Ferrer fought bravely throughout, hitting 25 winners to his opponent’s 22.
Nadal’s first break of Ferrer’s serve came in the third game following a weak backhand into the net.
However, Ferrer recovered after producing a lovely drop shot, which caught Nadal off guard. Nadal seized the initiative once more in the fifth, though, and despite Ferrer’s best efforts to claw back the deficit; the top seed clung on to take the opening set after 70 minutes on court.
The world number one looked to improve at the start of the second set and broke Ferrer in the third game in the second set, but the 24 year-old didn’t have it all his own way from then on. Uncharacteristic errors were creeping into his game and a wayward backhand in the eighth game allowed Ferrer a route back into the second set.
However, Nadal dug deep once more and made the crucial breakthrough three games later to take a 6-5 lead, handing him the chance to serve out for the match. Nadal took full advantage and secured the win on a second match point when Ferrer failed to clear the net with his reply to a trademark Nadal forehand.
Nadal was quick to down-play the achievement of his seventh consecutive win at the event, emphasising the importance of his form more than titles. Despite it being a unique achievement, Nadal prioritises form over titles as he aims for a sixth French Open title at Roland Garros next month.
“I don’t think about defending points from previous years, only about playing well,” said the 24-year-old after his victory. “
I just keep trying to improve every day, train humbly and improve. Winning this week was so important.”
As always, Nadal remained humble and also had some words of encouragement for his compatriot Ferrer.
“This was a very important win for me,” he reiterated. “It would have been impossible to imagine a few years ago winning seven titles here. I’m a lucky guy to have done this by age 24. Thanks so much to the life, I’m really enjoying everything.”
“I congratulate David on his good start to the year and wish him well,” he said. “For me today is very special, to win here seven times is much more than a dream. I could never have imagined it.”