Rafael Nadal needed nearly three hours to defeat Gael Monfils 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 on Sunday and win a record ninth title at the Monte Carlo Masters, AFP reports.
The Spaniard claimed his first trophy in the Principality since 2012 as he played in his 100th final and tenth in Monte Carlo.
Nadal’s win pulled him level with ATP leader Novak Djokovic on 28 trophies at the Masters 1000 level.
Nadal improved to 12-2 over Monfils as he won a first Masters honour since Madrid in May, 2014.
Nadal and Monfils were both plagued by unforced errors in the tight contest, with the winner striking 36 while Monfils made more than 50.
The match was also riddled with 34 break points, with Nadal converting on eight of 21 while Monfils managed five of 13.
“It’s great to win a Masters title again,” Nadal said.
“I had a tough season last years. but I’ve had better preparation this year, even with a tough start to the season.
“I hope this week will help me a lot,” the Spaniard said as he prepared to move onto his home clay of Barcelona next week.
Nadal now owns 68 titles and will carry on in the run-up to the French Open with renewed confidence; Monfils can take small consolation after winning his first-ever set against Nadal on clay.
The opening set took almost an hour and a quarter and set the stage for the second, which at one point featured three consecutive breaks of serve out to 4-4.
Monfils moved into winning position with a break for 6-5 and kept the struggle alive as he won the set for one apiece.
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