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Nadal defends his crown

23.04.2006 | Tennis

Roger was not able to defeat Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo Masters final, losing a tough fight 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-7 (5-7).

 

The Spanish second seed took the first set after racing to a 5-1 lead, but Roger found his form in the second. Nadal still broke him to love in the seventh game before his nerve wobbled, allowing the Swiss star to break back for 5-5 and then win the tiebreaker. But Nadal showed why he is the world's best on clay in the third set, then edged a tense fourth to seal victory.

 

Roger looked to have extended an epic final into a fifth set when he took a 3-0 lead in the second tiebreaker. But the 19-year-old Spaniard fought back as the shadows lengthened on court at the Monte Carlo Country Club. A forehand winner on his first match point finally sealed victory and his 14th career title after three hours and 49 minutes of thrilling tennis.

 

    

"It was a very unbelievable day for me," said Nadal. "It's special to begin the clay season like this.

Beating Roger in the final is even more special, it's great."

 

Roger, who had never progressed past the quarter-finals in Monaco before this year, admitted: "Rafael played a great match, it was tough to lose." Nadal had also inflicted the world number one's only other defeat of 2006, beating him in the final of the hardcourt Dubai Open on 4 March.

 

Roger also lost to Nadal in the semi-finals of last year's French Open, the only grand slam tournament he has yet to win. "I played a smarter match today than last year's Paris semi-final," Roger added. "I have moved closer to him on clay and that's very important."

 

Nadal now has a 4-1 record against the Swiss world number one, and has chalked up a remarkable 42 successive wins on clay. The left-hander is third on the all-time list behind Guillermo Vilas (53) and Bjorn Borg (46).   

 
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04/28/2006 | 09:43 PM
Roger you are the best player in the world! If you play your best nobody I repeat NOBODY can beat you! It`s all the mental approach. It`s great that you congratulate Magdalena Maleeva for her benefit.
Best wishes! I hope see you soon play! This inspires
04/28/2006 | 08:04 PM
Roger I hope in Rome that you outsmart Nadal, relax, relax, relax and just play your own game. You can be as good on clay as any other surface!!
luv,
S.
04/28/2006 | 07:53 PM
(continued...)
Regarding beating Nadal on clay courts, it is irrelevant to watch Blake vs Nadal matches because Blake has never played against Nadal on clay court.
There is really no easy way to beat Nadal on clay courts.
I THINK THE ONLY WAY TO BEAT
04/28/2006 | 07:52 PM
hi Roger

I only watched you playing in Monte Carlo final for the first three sets.
And this is the first time I watched you playing against Nadal.
Since I am one of your fans, it is too much for me to see you losing.
Therefore I went to sleep.
04/28/2006 | 06:48 PM
Hi everybody,
its sad to see roger got beaten again.But we know nadal is a kind of ambidextrous(who has almost same power in both hands) person.Its always difficult to beat them,since they r mentally tougher than monodextrous person(because they have con
04/28/2006 | 04:50 PM
I'm saying this with the best of intentions, because I want to see Roger win on clay and at the French Open. He's gotta try something different. Be more physical. See James Blake's matches with Nadal for guidance.

In two matches, Nadal has taken o
04/28/2006 | 03:48 PM
I think with Nadal is though, but you didn't play the way I expected. Way too many errors (but lots of winners, that's why your n1), I think you need to concentrate more on Nadals spin technique which is tricky for you apparently on the hard court also. B
04/28/2006 | 09:16 AM
Win or lose is just a normal thing in life....what is more important and surely the most important is you learn from losing and do better next time....
I am sure you can do it...even is not in the next game but i know you will one day raise up the French
04/28/2006 | 04:09 AM
You're getting closer to beating one of the best dirtballers, possibly ever. Tie-break in the fourth, it's better than last year's French. I know you'll keep improving and best of luck in Paris!
04/28/2006 | 02:26 AM
Anyone else annoyed by all of the commentary by media-people about how Federer is never going to figure out Nadal?

I read one story today that said something along the lines of, with 5 matches against him, and all the tape in the world to look at, if F
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