Back in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic.

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Rafael Nadal, the current Monte Carlo champion and the world’s top player, once again demonstrated his supremacy on clay in 2018. Rafa won the 11th title in the Principality in the previous 14 years by defeating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 30 minutes!

Since his debut in 2003 at the age of 16, Rafael Nadal has won 68 out of 72 matches, dominating one event in contemporary tennis like never before! The Spaniard moved one ATP title closer to John McEnroe with his 76th triumph. Additionally, Nadal passed Novak Djokovic for 30th place in the Masters 1000 standings with his 31st victory.

With these 1000 points, Rafa maintained his lead over Roger Federer in the ATP rankings. He is determined to maintain this position in Barcelona and keep the Swiss behind him. For the first time since 2012, Nadal won the championship in Monte Carlo without dropping a set, and he also won 36 straight sets on clay!

In 12 matches (four of which were played on clay), the Spaniard defeated Nishikori 10 times. This was their first time facing off since the 2016 Rio Olympics. The competition in Monte Carlo in 2018 was the best for Kei since 2016.

He achieved two top-10 victories (the prior one occurred in Brisbane in 2017) and made his first appearance in the Masters 1000 final since Canada that year. He required more, though, to go all the way, defeat such a formidable foe, and win the title.

As was clear during the final, Nishikori began playing in the first round and played five more hours than Rafa. Although Nadal‘s performance wasn’t flawless, he did enough to maintain the upper hand and manage the tempo of the points.

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He had two chances to break and increased the pressure on the opposing side.

Kei Nishikori was defeated by Rafael Nadal to win the 11th Monte Carlo title in 2018.

In the third game of the match, Kei took advantage of a situation to take the lead quickly.

On his return, we only saw that; he lost a break opportunity in game seven and withdrew from the match in set two. The Japanese only served at 52% and needed more to stay in the running. He missed his first shot 48% of the time and lost serve four times out of the eight chances Nadal offered him.

Rafa made 20 winners and 21 unforced errors, while Kei made mistakes frequently from both wings and struggled to stop the Spaniard’s down-the-line shots. Rafa had a better ratio of 12-19. The longest rallies were won by the Japanese, but Nadal made up that loss in the shorter and mid-range rallies to establish the key lead and win the match.

When Rafa’s forehand down the line finished just outside the range in game two, he lost the opportunity to take the lead right away. At 1-1, Kei scored first with a backhand winner at the net. However, Nishikori was only able to hold the lead for so long before hitting a double fault in game four to lose it.

When Rafa held at love with a smash winner to restore order and gather momentum, the Japanese were down 3-2. The turning point occurred in the following game when Nadal produced his second consecutive break, putting him 4-2 up. A few minutes later, he saved another break opportunity to secure the lead.

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Before Nadal closed the set on his serve and fired a forehand winner to complete the match in 56 minutes, Kei held at love to cut the deficit to 5-3. Rafa was the dominant character in set number two, propelled by this determination. In order to sustain the pressure on his opponent, he served at 80% and dropped four points in his games.

In the opening game, the Japanese prevented a break opportunity. With a backhand return winner two games later, Nadal broke at 15 and then moved out to a 3-1 lead with a forehand winner. In game five, Kei dropped his serve once more, giving the opposition a bigger lead.

At 5-2, Nadal fired a backhand crosscourt winner to clinch the match and celebrate yet another enormous victory on the court that had given him so much over the previous 13 years.

Back in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic.

By Antonio Zaccaro

Hello, I'm Antonio Zaccaro, tennis lover since I was 13. I started this blog out of pure passion, and now it has become my job. I constantly follow all the tournaments and I am always updated on all the news. What I know, I share with all my readers. My considerations are the result of hours and hours spent in front of screens and on tennis courts.