Tennis: Nadal wins 6th straight Monte Carlo Masters title
,AP Sports Writer
MONACO — Rafael Nadal defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 in Sunday's 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 2009 by overpowering the sixth-seeded Verdasco with a stunning display of attacking clay-court tennis.
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 has tied top-ranked Roger Federer with 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 savored 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 favorite 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 win and early form on clay will make him a favorite to reclaim his French Open title from the Swiss player at Roland Garros when the tournament starts late next month.
Verdasco had no answers in losing his 10th straight match to Nadal, who covered every part of the court and showed the agility, strength and power 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," said Verdasco, who has four career titles but was seeking his first Masters trophy.
Nadal's victory tied him with Britain's Reggie Doherty, who won the Monte Carlo event six times overall, between 1897-99 and 1902-04.
Just like in 2007 and '08, Nadal did not drop a set during the tournament.
After the first-set whitewash, Verdasco started the second aggressively and got a huge roar when he finally held his serve.
The cheers turned to jeers when Verdasco hit a lazy shot into the net to lose his serve and trail 4-1, but some spectacular rallying in the sixth game got the crowd back on his side and he forced Nadal to save five break points.
After winning one long rally, Verdasco dropped to his knees and threw his hands up to the sky after winning a point, and even Prince Albert of Monaco rose out of his seat to join in the applause.