Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal romped to a record-extending 11th Monte Carlo Masters title by brushing aside an outclassed Kei Nishikori in Sunday’s final to retain the World No 1 ranking.
The 31-year-old saw off Nishikori 6-3, 6-2 to become the first man to win a single tournament 11 times in the Open era with his 76th ATP Tour title.
Rafael Nadal celebrates his 11th Monte Carlo Masters title after beating Kei Nishikori. AFP
Nadal’s 31st Masters title is also an outright record, pulling him out of a tie with Novak Djokovic.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion’s era of utter dominance on clay looks unlikely to end any time soon after Nadal took his run of consecutive sets won on the surface to 36.
Nadal had to win the tournament to remain at the top of the world rankings ahead of Roger Federer, who is skipping the clay-court season, and he did just that without losing more than five games in a match.
The Spaniard will next set his sights on an 11th Barcelona Open victory next week, and it is hard to see anyone preventing him from extending his record number of 10 French Open titles at Roland Garros at the end of the clay-court season.
It was still an excellent week for the former world number four, who only returned from a four-month absence with a right wrist injury in January and will rise from his current ranking of 36 to the brink of the top 20.