Rafael Nadal vs Kei Nishikori (6-3, 6-2)
Rafael Nadal winning the Monte-Carlo Masters is a bit of an old cliché now. After all, he has already won the tournament 11 times—an open era record.
Pre-match betting odds never really doubted Nadal, and the Spanish maestro showed live betting fans the reason for that as he made easy work of Kei Nishikori who is trying to get back to the upper echelon of the men’s ranking.
Nishikori appeared ready to stage a sports betting upset after jumping to a 2-1 lead in the first set, thanks to a beautiful passing shot. However, that’s all the challenge that he could muster as he surrendered the next four games and gifted Nadal the opener.
Nadal didn’t give his Japanese opponent any chance of a comeback and won five straight games to start the second set. Nishikori tried to salvage his survival hopes and was able to save a set point with a nice volley at the net. Nonetheless, the King of Clay proved to be too strong on the red surface, eventually closing out the match with a forceful backhand winner.
It took Nadal one hour and 34 minutes to finish Nishikori, with post-match statistics showing that the 31-year-old won both the service and return games. Both players had just one service ace, but Nadal dominated all other areas en route to a straight-set victory.
The win gave Nadal his 31st Masters title (and 76th overall), allowing him to move one ahead of fellow “Big 4” member Novak Djokovic for career Masters titles. He is also the first man ever to win the same tournament 11 times, having won his first championship at the Principality of Monaco in 2005.
“Eleven titles here, it’s unbelievable. It’s something difficult to imagine,” Nadal said. “The history with this tournament is unique.”
Moreover, the result ensured Nadal the top ranking, ahead of Roger Federer who decided to sit out the clay-court season again.
Former World no.4 Nishikori, meanwhile, is still trying to recapture his form after a four-month absence due to a wrist injury. However, he can take some encouragement from the fact that he beat Tomas Berdych and Marin Cilic on his way to this stage.
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