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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Rafa Nadal dominates Kei Nishikori to win 11th Monte Carlo Masters title

  • World No 1 Nadal wins the final 6-3, 6-2 in 94 minutes
  • Nadal's 11th title in Monaco and third in a row
  • Next up is the Barcelona Open where Nadal is a 10-time champion
Rafael Nadal was too strong for Kei Nishikori in the Monte Carl Masters final. Yann Coatsaliou / AFP
Rafael Nadal was too strong for Kei Nishikori in the Monte Carl Masters final. Yann Coatsaliou / AFP

Rafael Nadal maintained his dominance of the European clay courts by winning his 11th Monte Carlo Masters title on Sunday.

World No 1 Nadal has swept past all before him in Monaco and the final proved no different, with the Spaniard defeating Japan’s Nei Nishikori 6-3,, 6-2 in one hour and 34 minutes. It is Nadal’s third successive Monte Carlo title. He previously won eight in a row between 2005 and 2012.

"I want to congratulate Kei for a great week. It's always difficult to be back from injury and I'm happy to see you again playing well,” said Nadal, who was playing at his first ATP event since retiring from an Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic with a hip injury in January.

"I want to thank all my team and my family. We had some tough moments during the last five months after a couple of injuries in a row.

"It's great to have a group of great people behind me. I can say thank you very much always for being there and supporting me when I really need it.

"It's always special for me to be back here, having this trophy. It's one of the most important events of the year for me."

Nishikori, the former world No 4 who is making his way back from a lengthy wrist injury layoff, has been in impressive form this week, defeating second seed Marin Cilic and third seed Alexander Zverev en route to the final.

And Japan’s top-ranked male player looked set to cause Nadal some problems after he broke for a 2-1 lead at the start of the match. All that seemed to do was wake the giant as Nadal won the next four games before serving out the opening set.

If Nishikori offered some resistance in the first set, he was powerless to stop Nadal in the second. The 16-time grand slam champion earned back-to-back breaks to streak into a 5-1 lead, and after Nishikori held serve to love, Nadal comfortably closed out the victory.

Next up for both Nadal and Nishikori is the Barcelona Open, where the Spaniard is the defending and 10-time champion. Nishikori has also enjoyed success in Catalonia, winning the title twice in 2014 and 2015.