MONACO – Rafael Nadal won a record 31st Masters title after beating Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2 in the Monte Carlo Masters final on Sunday.
Nadal also became the first man in the Open era to win the same title 11 times – 13 years after his first title here – and moved one ahead of rival Novak Djokovic for career Masters titles.
It gave him a 76th title overall and ensured the Spaniard keeps his top ranking ahead of Roger Federer.
Nishikori was chasing a first Masters title, but the Japanese player took 11 minutes to hold for 1-1.
He got some brief hope, breaking Nadal with a superb passing shot at full stretch to lead 2-1, but meekly surrendered the next four games.
The second set was a procession and Nadal won on his first match point with a stinging backhand winner.
Nadal’s celebration was brief and low key. He thrust both hands into the air, and then jogged over to offer Nishikori a sympathetic hug after beating him for the 10th time in 12 meetings.
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