Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal's eight-year reign at the Monte-Carlo Masters, beating the Spaniard in straight sets in the final to clinch the title. The World No 1 triumphed 6-2, 7-6(1) to begin his clay-court season, handing Nadal his first defeat in Monte Carlo in 47 matches. The Serb also avenged last year's straight sets defeat in the final, to lift his first title in Monaco and 14th at the Masters level.
Djokovic was a doubt for the tournament, due to an ankle injury suffered during a Davis Cup tie earlier this month. The triumph comes as a massive psychological boost to the 25-year-old, ahead of next month's French Open; the only Grand Slam the Serb is yet to win and the one where Nadal is a record seven-time champion.
"I cannot ask for a better start to my clay season. I did not know if I was going to be a part of the tournament this year. I made a decision to play and, right now, it's the best decision of my life," BBC quoted Djokovic.
The World No 1 secured the first set in around 45 minutes, after storming into a 5-0 lead, with Nadal being completely outplayed. The second set was tight, with both players breaking each other twice to enter the tie-break. However, Djokovic emerged a comfortable winner in the set decider, winning 7-1 to end his opponent's bid for a ninth straight title.
Nadal came into this game having triumphed in every match at the Monte Carlo Masters since his only defeat in 2003, when he was just a teenager. The 26-year-old has won every edition of the tournament since 2005.
"Congratulations Novak, what you're doing is just amazing. Congratulations to you for winning my favourite tournament," Nadal said at the presentation ceremony.