Rafael Nadal thrashed Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 in all-Spanish final to win the Monte Carlo Masters for the sixth straight year and end his title drought.
The second-seeded Nadal clinched his first title since the Rome Masters in May last year by overpowering the sixth-seeded Verdasco with a stunning display of attacking tennis that sends out a stern warning to his clay-court rivals.
Nadal is the only player to win six consecutive titles in the same tournament since tennis turned professional in 1968, and the 23-year-old is level with top-ranked Roger Federer on 16 Masters titles, one behind Andre Agassi’s record.
Nadal sealed the win on his first match point with a forehand pass and fell to the ground, rolling on his back as he savoured his victory.
“It was emotional for me today, it was my best week for a long time,” Nadal said. “It’s unbelievable, Monte Carlo is my favourite tournament.”
It was Nadal’s 32nd straight win at Monte Carlo since his third round loss to Guillermo Coria in 2003, and the relief at clinching his 37th career title was evident as he sobbed into a towel when he sat down.
Although Federer was not playing at Monte Carlo, Nadal’s superb win and early form on clay will make him a serious contender to reclaim his French Open title from the Swiss player at Roland Garros when the tournament starts late next month.
Verdasco simply had no answers as he lost his 10th straight match to Nadal, who covered every part of the court and showed the agility, strength and powerful hitting that were his hallmarks on clay before his sudden dip last year.
“Sorry for today,” Nadal said to a smiling Verdasco as the two players gave their speeches.
“I hope one day Rafa gets tired of winning here,” Verdasco said.
Nadal’s victory moved him level with Britain’s Reggie Doherty, who won the Monte Carlo event six times overall, between 1897-99 and 1902-04.