Nadal reigns supreme

Nadal reigns supreme

Spaniard wins Monte Carlo title for sixth year in a row

Nadal reigns supreme

CHAMPION IS BACK: Spain’s Rafael Nadal jubilates after winning the Monte Carlo Masters for the sixth consecutive time on Sunday. Nadal beat compatriot Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 in the final. AFP

The four-times French Open champion's shock fourth-round defeat at Roland Garros last year was a distant memory as Nadal became the first player to win the same event six years in a row since tennis turned professional in 1968 according to the ATP.

"You played very well, sorry for today," the world number three said to Verdasco after putting in another display of exquisite claycourt tennis to win his 32nd successive match in glitzy Monte Carlo. "I have been feeling at home here. I played my best week for a long time. It's unbelievable, it's my favourite tournament."

Nadal, who has suffered from a recurring knee injury, won his last title at the Rome Masters last May and his return to form comes just over a month before the Grand Slam tournament on his favourite surface in Paris.

Verdasco, playing in his first Masters final, entered a sunsoaked centre court all pumped up –– but with a 0-9 record against Nadal.

The sixth seed was quickly deflated, Nadal breaking in the opening game when his opponent misfired a forehand.

Verdasco pleased the capacity crowd with a couple of stunning forehand winners before making a mistake that inspired Nadal to produce the shot of the tournament.

At the end of an energy-sapping rally, Verdasco thought he had won the point with a neat, sliced backhand volley, only for Nadal to retrieve and unleash a jaw-dropping crosscourt backhand passing shot.

After losing the fifth game, Verdasco called on the trainer at the change of ends to have his neck and shoulders massaged.

Wozniacki retires
Caroline Wozniacki's bid for a second title in two weeks came to a shuddering halt when she retired injured from her semifinal at the Family Circle Cup on Saturday.

The top-seeded Dane, who clinched her seventh career title in Ponte Vedra, Florida last week, quit while trailing Russia's Vera Zvonareva 5-2 in the opening set after injuring her right ankle in a tumble.

In Sunday's final, seventh-seeded Zvonareva will meet fourth seed Samantha Stosur of Australia.

Stosur, a renowned doubles player, came from 5-3 down in the second set to beat eighth-seeded Slovak Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 7-6 in their semifinal.