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Nadal continues Monte Carlo domination
In a match that never threatened to match the beauty of its surroundings, Rafael Nadal won the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters for the seventh straight time with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over fellow Spaniard David Ferrer on Sunday.
On a cool, sunny day with sailboats bobbing on the Mediterranean and a billionaire's yacht riding at anchor a few yards from this fabled country club, Nadal got the job done, showing flashes of brilliance amidst an unusual number of unforced errors against the No. 4 seed, who could never sustain the breaks he earned against the Nadal serve.
The top-ranked Nadal was watched by his female counterpart, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who stood amidst the debris of the luncheon tables on the terrace chatting to friends. When Nadal first won this title in 2005, Wozniacki was a hopeful 14-year-old playing junior events in Denmark.
No one had won seven titles in succession in the modern era or even in most of those sepia-stained days of the early 20th century. Richard Shears won the first seven U.S. Championships, starting in 1881, but I doubt if there were any foreigners in the field.
Nadal has made it clear just how much effort goes into winning matches in this era. He has played in all three Masters 1000 finals so far this year, losing in Indian Wells and Miami to Novak Djokovic and now winning at Monte Carlo. But, although he admitted to being very tired once again, it seems that emotions are playing their part, too.
"It's really emotional for me to win here, something unbelievable for me," he said. "Always special emotions at this tournament because I am playing for the history of the tournament. After 2005, (to) win seven in a row is almost impossible, I think. Impossible for me to imagine."
When he was asked if winning seven straight titles in one tournament was more difficult than winning one Grand Slam event, he replied with as much scorn as this very civilized young man can muster.
"That's a joke. Is no answer for this. It is much more difficult to win seven times in a row than win Grand Slam," he said. "For seven times, you have to have health every year, to play well every year — and this is a big tournament. You have to pass over difficult situations. Seven years are a lot."
But he will be back to try for an eighth, of that you can be sure.
"I am going to stop playing tennis when I lose my illusions," he said. "And when I lose my illusion to keep improving on court, keep fighting. I don't know if that happens next month or happen in five, eight years. That's the answer. I don't know."
Count in years.
Bob and Mike Bryan reminded the European faithful that Americans play tennis, too, by winning their second Monte Carlo doubles title in their fourth final here with a typically clinical 6-3, 6-2 victory over the new Argentine-Brazil pairing of Juan Ignacio Chela and Bruno Soares. The twins are on a roll, having flown in from Houston, where they won that title, as well.