18 Apr 2016

Nadal sees off Monfils to end four-year Monaco wait

7:26 am on 18 April 2016

Rafa Nadal ended his four-year wait for a ninth Monte Carlo Masters title by defeating Gael Monfils 7-5 5-7 6-0 in his 100th career final.

Rafael Nadal celebrates his win over Gail Monfils, Stuttgart, 2015.

Rafael Nadal Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Nadal won eight consecutive titles before losing the 2013 final to Novak Djokovic and, after struggling for fitness in recent years, demonstrated his return to form by overwhelming the home favourite in the third set to win his 28th Masters title.

Nadal, who plans to return to his happy hunting ground next year, told the crowd "Monte Carlo has been one of the most special places in my career."

"It was a pleasure to play back here again and in a final.

"It's been a special week for me, winning here in Monte Carlo is so special."

Monfils, seeded 13th and looking to become the tournament's first French winner since Cedric Pioline, started strongly, exchanging consecutive break points with Nadal, before losing the first set 7-5.

Monfils broke Nadal to take an early 2-1 lead in the second, but the Spaniard broke back to level at 4-4 before Monfils wrestled back the initiative to take the set.

Nadal dominated the final set, however, breaking Monfils, who appeared drained by his earlier exertions, three times to win his first Masters title since 2014 and his 48th clay crown.