[QODLink]
Tennis

Djokovic ends Nadal's Monte Carlo run

Spaniard's eight-year reign at the Monte Carlo Masters ends in defeat at the hands of world number one Novak Djokovic.

Last Modified: 21 Apr 2013 15:47
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Nadal had enjoyed a 46-match winning streak at the claycourt Masters event before Djokovic ended his run to claim his first title [GALLO/GETTY]

Rafael Nadal's eight-year reign at the Monte Carlo Masters finally ended Sunday as the Spaniard lost 6-2, 7-6 (1) to top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the final.

Nadal won his 46 previous matches at Monte Carlo - beating Djokovic in last year's final - and his last defeat here was against Guillermo Coria 10 years ago. Nadal missed the 2004 tournament through injury before winning his first Monte Carlo title the following year.

Nadal then beat Roger Federer in the next three finals. His eight straight titles were an ATP record for one tournament.

Djokovic faced Nadal for the 16th time in a championship decider, and they are now 8-8 in finals. Nadal had won the previous three, including the French Open final last year.

"Rafa, thank you for allowing me to win it once,'' Djokovic said.

"I couldn't ask for a better start to the clay season.''

Evenly matched

Nadal dropped one set on the way to the final - to Grigor Dimitrov - while Djokovic dropped two, having been doubtful to even play after twisting his ankle on Davis Cup for Serbia and the United States two weeks ago.

"I didn't know I would be a part of the tournament this year ... (it's) the best decision I ever made in my life,'' Djokovic said.

Nadal looked well set to take the match to a third set after opening up a 4-2 lead in the second, but his serve let him down. Especially in the 12th game, when Djokovic broke him to love to take the momentum back heading into the tiebreaker.

Djokovic sealed the victory on his first match point with another booming forehand winner and then held his head in hands and looked skyward and talking to himself for a few seconds - last year, Djokovic's grandfather died during the tournament but he carried on playing to reach the final - before dropping to the ground and kissing the clay.

After a brief shower, the match started with a delay of around 45 minutes, and the Serb raced ahead 5-0 in just 25 minutes. Neither player has won a set 6-0 against the other in 34 meetings, but Djokovic came very close before Nadal summoned up the strength to save five break points in the sixth game.

Nadal has reached five consecutive finals since returning from a knee injury in February - winning three, and losing two - while Australian Open champion Djokovic won his third title of the year and 37th overall.

Nadal, who leads Djokovic 19-15 in their overall meetings, applauded warmly as the Serb received the trophy that had belonged to the Spaniard for so long.

"Congratulations ... good luck for the rest of the season,'' Nadal told Djokovic at the awards ceremony.

Djokovic looked emotional as he sang along with the Serbian national anthem.

503

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
Remnants of deadly demonstrations to be displayed in a new museum, a year after protests pushed president out of power.
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.