MONTE CARLO • Rafael Nadal claimed a record-extending 10th Monte Carlo Masters title as he geared up for his beloved French Open with a 6-1, 6-3 victory against fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos yesterday.
It is the first time in the Open era that any man has won a singles tournament 10 times.
The fourth seed, who is also targeting a 10th title in Barcelona this week and at next month's Roland Garros, was always in command as he claimed his first ATP title since triumphing in Barcelona a year ago.
The 14-time grand slam champion had won his two previous encounters against Ramos and the 15th seed failed to snap that run at the Monte Carlo Country Club.
Rafael Nadal is the first man to win a singles tournament 10 times, after his win against Albert Ramos at the Monte Carlo Masters final.
Nadal, runner-up at this year's Australian Open and Miami Open to Roger Federer and to Sam Querrey in Acapulco, did not face a single break point, wrapping the match up in 76 minutes.
"It has been an amazing week on one of the most important events on the Tour," said Nadal after claiming his 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, one shy of record-holder Novak Djokovic.
"I played well here, which helps me a lot to start the clay-court season with confidence."
He wasted three break points in the second game as Ramos levelled for 1-1. However, the "King of Clay" won the next five games to bag the opening set.
With his top spin working to devastating effect, Ramos struggled to stay close to his baseline.
The Mallorcan broke for 3-2 in the second set when Ramos sent a backhand long and from then on Nadal was unstoppable.
Ramos, who defeated world No. 1 Andy Murray and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic en route to his first Masters final, handed Nadal his 70th ATP title on his third match point with a double fault.
Fifty of those titles came on clay, breaking the record the 30-year-old shared with Guillermo Vilas of Argentina.
Nadal won eight Monte Carlo titles in a row from 2005 to 2012 before losing to Djokovic in the 2013 final.
"When I came here for the first time (in 2003) I reached the third round after coming through the qualifiers," he told the crowd.
"Ten titles is something I never dreamed of. See you next year."