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Rafael Nadal beats Kei Nishikori to win Monte Carlo Masters

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the men’s singles final match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament against Japan’s Kei Nishikori in two sets, 6-3, 6-2, in Monaco, Sunday April 22, 2018. (Christophe Ena / Associated Press)
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the men’s singles final match of the Monte Carlo Tennis Masters tournament against Japan’s Kei Nishikori in two sets, 6-3, 6-2, in Monaco, Sunday April 22, 2018. (Christophe Ena / Associated Press)

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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