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Saisai crowned Zhengzhou Open champion

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 10:32am
Unseeded Zheng Saisai came from a set down to clinch the Zhengzhou Open title Sunday.

Stephens, Keys send U.S. into Fed Cup final

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 10:31am
Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys kept alive the United States' hopes of defending its Fed Cup title by ousting France in the semifinals.

Nadal Clinches La Undécima

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 10:20am
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Rafael Nadal continued to build upon his extraordinary legacy at Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Sunday when he captured his 11th trophy, which represented a record 31st ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown.

The Spanish superstar, who boasts a 396-35 record on clay courts (.919) according to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, beat Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 6-2 in a one-hour and 34-minute final. It was their third clash in a red dirt title match — also 2014 Mutua Madrid Open and 2016 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

Watch: Nadal's Road To La Undécima

"My true feeling is these kind of things are not going to happen forever, so I just try to enjoy them and to play with the full passion and with the full energy and concentration, full love for the sport until I can," said Nadal. "I know the day to say goodbye is closer than 10 years ago. It is something that I am not worried about, but it is a real thing. So I am just enjoying every day and trying to play with the best attitude possible, to keep being happy playing tennis. That's all.

"Of course it is a special day for me. Winning again this title here in Monte-Carlo means a lot, especially because it is the first tournament in the year that I finished. To have the victory in a Masters 1000, especially in Monte-Carlo, that for me is one of the most important ones in terms of personal feeling and in terms of history of our sport. I am very excited and very happy for everything."


The victory improves Nadal match record to 11-1 on the 2018 season and means that the 31-year-old will begin his 171st week at No. 1 in ATP Rankings on Monday, breaking a tie with American John McEnroe (170 weeks). Nadal, with 76 career titles (54 on clay), is now also one trophy shy of McEnroe’s singles haul (77). He will now travel to Barcelona, where he is a 10-time titlist, having won a career-best 36 consecutive sets on clay.

His Serene Highness Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, and his wife, Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco, presented Nadal with the Monte-Carlo trophy in front of a capacity crowd on Court Rainier III. Nadal received €935,385 in prize money and earned 1,000 ATP Rankings points.

"It is very special," Nadal added. "But 11 titles here, it's unbelievable, so it's something difficult to imagine. I always say the same: If I did it, somebody else can do it. But it is very difficult. I really don't know how these things can happen because it is lot of years without making mistakes and without being unlucky in this week. I have been unlucky other weeks, but not this week.

"The history with this tournament is unique. To put another trophy in my museum, in my academy, is going to be something great. Eleven is a lot, especially here in Monte-Carlo."

ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Title Leaders

Player Masters 1000 Titles Monte-Carlo Titles (1) Rafael Nadal 31 11 (2) Novak Djokovic 30
2 (3) Roger Federer 27 0 (4) Andre Agassi 17 0 (5) Andy Murray 14 0

Nishikori saved one break point in a 16-point second game of the pair’s 12th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, prior to clinching Nadal’s serve with a delicate backhand winner down the line for 2-1. But Nishikori looked deflated one game later when he double-faulted to gift Nadal a way back into the set. Nadal didn’t need another invitation as he won four of the next five games finishing the 56-minute opener with a trademark forehand approach down the line.

Once Nadal cleaned the right tramline with a crosscourt forehand winner to break Nishikori in the third game, the second set was one-way traffic. From 0-1, Nadal won five straight games, including a service break at 1-3 courtesy of Nadal forehand error.

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Nadal lost just 21 games in his five matches — against Aljaz Bedene, Karen Khachanov, Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and Nishikori — this week at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, where he has a 68-4 record with 12 final appearances. It is the fifth time he has won the Monte-Carlo title without dropping a set (also 2008-10 and 2012).

This week, Nadal was competing in just his second tournament of the season, having sustained a hip injury during his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic in January.

Most Titles At A Single Tournament

Player Tournament Titles Won Rafael Nadal Monte-Carlo 11 Rafael Nadal Barcelona
10 Rafael Nadal Roland Garros 10 Roger Federer Halle 9

The 28-year-old Nishikori was contesting the fourth Masters 1000 championship match of his career (0-4), after runner-up finishes to Nadal at 2014 Madrid and to Djokovic at 2016 Miami Open presented by Itau and Rogers Cup in Toronto. The Japanese, who may meet Nadal in next week’s Barcelona quarter-finals, received €458,640 in prize money and earned 600 ATP Rankings points.

"I knew it's going to be tough to maintain my level because he gives me all the balls back," said Nishikori. "It's not easy to dominate the point with Rafa all the time. I knew it's going to be tough even though I was up a break.

"I was kind of out of gas, especially in the second set. How he plays... He makes every shot. He makes it tough. I think he was also playing great tennis. It was not easy to maintain my level until the end today."

Nadal will next head to Barcelona in search of yet another 11-title haul at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. He finds himself in the same quarter of the draw as Nishikori and longtime rival Novak Djokovic, with a potential rematch against the Japanese awaiting in the third round. Draw Preview

"Next week is another week that I have a tough draw in Barcelona," Nadal continued. "Today is a day to enjoy this because winning a tournament like this one not happening every day. But tomorrow I need to start being focused on the next week. Is not the moment to stop and to disconnect your mind. Is the moment to stay focused and to keep holding that momentum that is good one after winning seven matches in a row on clay now, this year. That's a positive thing. The way that I won the matches are very positive. So is the moment to keep going, and that's my goal."

Did You Know?
Rafael Nadal will rise to No. 4 in the latest ATP Race to London standings on Monday after winning his 11th Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title. The World No. 1 has won 11 of his 12 matches on tour in 2018.

Kvitova win sends Czechs back to Fed Cup final

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 9:34am
The Czech Republic clinched a trip to its sixth Fed Cup final in eight years as Petra Kvitova defeated Germany's Angelique Kerber.

Australia back in Fed Cup World Group

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 4:52am
Australia have beaten the Netherlands in their Fed Cup playoff in Wollongong to earn promotion to the eight-team World Group in 2019.

Djokovic to play at Barcelona Open next week

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 1:11pm
Novak Djokovic has confirmed he will play at the Barcelona Open next week.

Nadal doesn't plan to skip major tournaments

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 5:46am
For now, Rafael Nadal doesn't see himself skipping any major tournaments the way Roger Federer has been by sitting out the French Open.

For Dominic Thiem, the ATP's ironman, the rest is mystery

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 1:53pm
The Austrian plays a heavy schedule and he sometimes feels the effects heading into the clay-court season. This year, Thiem had some rest while recovering from an ankle injury.

Johnson earns rare clay-court back-to-back win

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 10:28pm
Steve Johnson beat first-time ATP Tour finalist Tennys Sandgren 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-4 on Sunday to become the first player to defend the U.S. Men's Clay Court title in 16 years.

Serena, Sloane, someone else? Who is going to rule the WTA this clay season?

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 5:03pm
It's a question without a good answer, but we have to ask it anyway: Which WTA player is going to rise up above everyone else on the dirt?

Why clay might be Serena Williams' best chance to get back on track

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 10:02am
We don't know what Serena Williams' immediate plans are, but the best thing she can do is return right now for the long clay-season haul.

In case you were wondering, Rafael Nadal is still the master of clay

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 2:46pm
Should we give Rafa the French Open trophy now? All it took was one Davis Cup weekend to remind us that Rafael Nadal is far and away the best player on clay.

U.S., Croatia, Spain, France to Davis Cup semis

Sun, 04/08/2018 - 8:21pm
The United States will take on Croatia in its first Davis Cup semifinals since 2012, with Spain matching up against France on the other side of the bracket.

A winner's trophy, a slice of pizza and a day to remember for Sloane Stephens

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 12:20pm
From victory lane at the Miami Open to her favorite pizza joint, perhaps for the final time, it was quite a day for Sloane Stephens.

Finally, an optimistic forecast for American tennis in 2018

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 12:19pm
The season could not have started off any worse for the Americans, but something clicked at the Miami Open, and suddenly the red, white and blue are shining bright.

A look at a possible new, more streamlined tennis ranking system

Wed, 04/04/2018 - 1:34pm
Seemingly no one fully understands tennis' current ranking system, but there is a better, more relevant method that could more accurately alter a player's standing.

Just relax, man: How John Isner won the biggest title of his career

Sun, 04/01/2018 - 8:46pm
After struggling all season, John Isner finally let loose at the Miami Open and walked away with the winner's trophy.

Beating Venus Williams a testament to Danielle Collins' strong resilience

Thu, 03/29/2018 - 12:48am
Danielle Collins isn't like most of her fellow tennis peers, which is probably why she is starting to win so many matches.

Venus shocked by qualifer Collins in Miami

Wed, 03/28/2018 - 10:37pm
Danielle Collins, who survived two qualifying matches to make the main draw at the Miami Open, ousted her idol Venus Williams in a quarterfinal match at Key Biscayne.

Not a lot of answers for Roger Federer's failures during crunch time

Sat, 03/24/2018 - 10:29pm
Roger Federer had chances, lots of them. But like he did last week at Indian Wells, he simply had no answers when it mattered most in his opening match at the Miami Open.