Rafael Nadal has signalled a promising return to form after holding off inspired Frenchman Gael Monfils to win the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters on Sunday.
Nadal triumphed for a staggering ninth time in Monte Carlo, beating Monfils 7-5 5-7 6-0 in two hours, 46 minutes.
It was the Spaniard’s first title in almost two years, while the result saw Monfils’ record in ATP finals slip to 5-19.
“It was a very important week for me. I feel much better than I did last year,” Nadal said after winning his 28th Masters title, tying him with all-time leader Novak Djokovic.
“The victory here confirms that I’ve been better. Monte Carlo is one of the most important places in my career and it’s so special to win here after three years.
“Winning nine times here is unbelievable, and competing well two weeks in a row is something positive.”
The two men played out two absorbing sets before a rapturous crowd at the Monte Carlo country club.
But Monfils was well and truly out of gas by the third, surrendering it in just 30 minutes and failing to win a game.
“I knew [Nadal] was confident. He’s a great champion and puts more into it at the right moments. You’re just submissive to his power,” he admitted.
“Suddenly in the third set, he increased his power and I just couldn’t cope.”
Nadal will look continue his form when he contests the ATP 500 Barcelona Open, beginning Monday.
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