After six time defending champion Rafael Nadal was pushed in the semifinals by Andy Murray to three sets lasting two hours and fifty-eight minutes, the question was whether the world number one would have enough left in the tank to get over the finish line.
In today’s final at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, compatriot David Ferrer made sure the “king of clay” did it the old fashion way. Nadal prevailed 6-4, 7-5 over Ferrer to earn his seventh successive trophy.
For the second year in a row, two Spaniards clashed in the final at this event. Last year, Nadal destroyed Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1. Consequently, it was imperative for Ferrer to make his presence felt early on in the competition.
Subsequent to a forehand up the line winner to hold in the opening game, Ferrer produced a backhand crosscourt return winner for double break point. However, Nadal eventually overcame the deficit to guard serve.
Next, with Ferrer netting a backhand crosscourt, Nadal had double break point. On a second consecutive backhand miscue by Ferrer, Nadal seized the break for 2-1. Yet, with Nadal attempting to consolidate at 40-15, Ferrer provoked a few mistakes and got to deuce. Later, with a dropshot forehand winner, Ferrer broke to level the first set.
But, with a forehand down the line winner, Nadal had triple break point. On his third break opportunity, Nadal struck a forehand crosscourt winner to bag the break for 3-2.
Soon, Nadal double faulted to hand Ferrer triple break point the next game. Aided by errors from Ferrer, Nadal reached deuce and ultimately consolidated for 4-2.
Ferrer capitalized on only one of six break points and committed twenty-one unforced errors. Thus, in spite of constant pressure from his rival, Nadal closed out the first set.
As a result of a forehand winner by Nadal, Ferrer faced triple break point in the initial game of the second set. Still, Ferrer survived Nadal’s assault and maintained serve.
Yet, after Nadal comfortably held, Ferrer gifted him a break point. By sticking a forehand down the line pass for a winner, Nadal captured the break for 2-1.
Promptly, at love, Nadal consolidated for 3-1. However, Ferrer refused to waive the white flag, keeping the gap at one break.
With Nadal double faulting at 30 all, Ferrer had his first break opportunity of the second set. When Nadal sent a backhand crosscourt wide, Ferrer squared the set at 4 all. Then, Ferrer quickly inched in front at 5-4.
But, serving at 5 all, Ferrer double faulted to donate a second break chance in that game to his adversary. By misfiring on a fairly routine forehand up the line, Ferrer gave Nadal a 6-5 lead.
With a forehand crosscourt winner, Nadal obtained his second championship point. Once Ferrer dumped his volley into the net, Nadal crossed the victory line.
With that win, Nadal claimed his 19th Masters shield and is the all time leader. Roger Federer and Andre Agassi are second best with 17 shields.
Monte Carlo represents Nadal’s thirtieth clay title. Moreover, Nadal prolonged his winning streak to 37 matches in a row at that venue. Nadal’s sole defeat was as a 16 year old in the round of 16 to Guillermo Coria in 2003. The following year, Nadal avenged that lost in the final.