Rafael Nadal, seeded 4th in the Monte-Carlo Masters tournament, had little trouble dispatching his countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas in straight sets in the final. It was the first Masters final for Ramos-Vinolas, 29 years of age. He had done brilliantly to overcome Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Lucas Pouille on his way to the final, but Nadal was simply too strong from start to finish.
The 14 time Grand Slam champion had break points in the first game of the match, but Ramos-Vinolas did well to weather the storm. However, he did so in vain as Nadal went on to break his opponent’s serve fairly easy twice in the first set, ending it comfortably on his own serve: 6-1.
Ramos-Vinolas raised his level in the second set, trying to make things competitive. But the problem for the 24th ranked Spaniard was that everything he can do, Nadal can do better. If he tried pulling his opponent out wide with a cross court forehand, Nadal responded with an even better shot down the line. If Ramos-Vinolas’ defense this week has been great, Nadal’s defense has been… well, Nadalesque, showing signs of his glorious clay court years.
In the fifth game of the set, Ramos-Vinolas could no longer withstand Nadal’s clay court presence. The fourth seed broke when a backhand sailed long from Ramos-Vinolas’ racquet. From that point on it was smooth sailing for Nadal. He outplayed his opponent time and time again, and after just one hour and 15 minutes he raised his arms towards the sky after winning the final on his third match point off a Ramos-Vinolas doublefault: 6-1, 6-3.
It was Nadal’s first title of the year after suffering three final losses, twice to Roger Federer and once to Sam Querrey. The win also meant Masters title #29 for the Spaniard, who now sits just one behind Novak Djokovic. Nadal is still second in the ATP race to London, but he couldn’t have asked for a better start to his clay court season.