Live Commentary: Monte Carlo Masters final: Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic - as it happened

Novak Djokovic punches the air after defeating Mikhail Youzhny during the Monte Carlo Masters on April 17, 2013
© AP Photos
Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report of Novak Djokovic's victory over Rafael Nadal in the Monte Carlo Masters final.

Novak Djokovic dethroned Rafael Nadal as the King of the Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday with a straight-sets victory over the eight-time champion.

The world number one was rampant in the opening set as he swept aside the Spaniard 6-2 before clinching the title in a second-set tie-break 7-1.

For Nadal, it means that he missed out on a ninth-consecutive championship at the tournament.

Read Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report below to find out how Djokovic sealed his maiden triumph in Monte Carlo.


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12.57amHello there and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of today's Monte Carlo Masters final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

12.59amIt doesn't get much more mouth-watering than this as two titans of the men's game go head to head among the glitz and glamour of Monaco.

1pmIt's been a great tournament this week in Monte Carlo, with plenty of surprises as well as some truly brilliant tennis.

1.02pmA quick run down of statistics involving Nadal and Djokovic: the Spaniard has won 19 of their previous 33 encounters and has a dominant 12-2 winning record over the world number one on clay.

1.04pmWhen it comes to finals Nadal has the edge 8-7, with one of those coming the last time that these two met at the French Open last year. Djokovic managed to take a set but Nadal took the title 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5.

1.07pmThese two also faced each other in last year's Monte Carlo Masters final, but it was an extremely one-sided affair as Nadal romped to a 6-3 6-1 victory to clinch an eighth championship. Djokovic will certainly be looking to give a better showing of himself today.

1.08pmUnfortunately it looks like we will have a delay before this one gets underway. There's some light drizzle in Monte Carlo. Not a drop of rain has fallen all week until now...

1.11pmRight, that should give us a bit of time to see how these two made their way to this year's final.

1.13pmRAFAEL NADAL:

2R: Marinko Matosevic 6-1 6-2

3R: Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2 6-4

QF: Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 2-6 6-4

SF: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 7-6(3)


1.16pmAs you can see, it's been a fairly straightforward route to the final for Nadal, dropping just the single set in his four matches. However, that set came during a tricky encounter with Grigor Dimitrov, who pushed the Spaniard all the way in the quarter-finals. It was arguably the match of the tournament so far and the Bulgarian gave an excellent account of himself.

1.18pmNOVAK DJOKOVIC:

2R: Mikhail Youzhny 4-6 6-1 6-4

3R: Juan Monaco 4-6 6-2 6-2

QF: Jarkko Nieminen 6-4 6-3

SF: Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-1


1.21pmWorld number one Djokovic hasn't had it all his way in Monte Carlo this year, losing the opening set in his opening two matches, but he's looked more confident as the tournament has progressed.

1.22pmThere have been a few concerns with the Serbian's ankle in the past few weeks, but he's moved pretty well over the last seven days.

1.26pmWEATHER UPDATE: It's not looking to good on the weather front as there are some fairly bleak skies above Monte Carlo. Fingers crossed there will be an improvement soon and we can get this match underway.

1.30pmFancy some extended highlights of last year's final between Nadal and Djokovic? Here you go...


1.33pmWEATHER UPDATE: Some good news! The covers are slowly coming off the court in Monte Carlo. Looks like we could have some tennis fairly soon.

1.39pmThere's no further rain but it appears that the tournament organisers are making sure that everything is prim and proper before they give this final the green light.

1.43pmHere we go! The players are coming out of the locker room to a great reception. The sky has suddenly cleared, as if by magic, meaning that we should be underway shortly.

1.47pmNadal has won the toss and chosen to receive. The two players are going through their warm-up at the minute.

1.52pmOkay then here we go. It's Nadal and Djokovic battling it out for the Monte Carlo Masters title. Djokovic, looking for his first, will serve to Nadal, hoping to win his ninth in a row.

1.58pmNADAL *0-1 DJOKOVIC (* denotes next server)

1.59pmIt's a solid start for Djokovic as he concedes just one point on his way to holding. The Serb was working his backhand well throughout that game, ripping one across court that Nadal got nowhere near.

2.03pmNadal is struggling to close out this game. There have been some superb rallies between the pair and it's now at deuce for a third time...

2.06pmBREAK! NADAL *0-2 DJOKOVIC

2.08pmDjokovic is rewarded for some excellent returning by getting an early break. He made life incredibly difficult for Nadal during that game thanks to some great depth on his forehand and backhand.

2.12pmBREAK! NADAL *0-3 DJOKOVIC

2.14pmThe world number one clinches his third game in a row by winning a colossal rally. He's considered the best returner in the game and he showed exactly why there. Nadal huffed and puffed at the baseline but Djokovic's forehand eventually proved too much as the Spaniard could only slam the ball into the net. Nadal needs to find something quickly here.

2.18pmBREAK! NADAL 0-4* DJOKOVIC

2.19pmDjokovic has the double break and is romping away with this opening set. He brings up break point with a sumptuous backhand before Nadal hits the net again to put the Serb 4-0 in front. These two are playing some sensational rallies but it's Djokovic who is coming out on top more often that not. He looks in defiant mood today.

2.20pmBREAK! NADAL *0-5 DJOKOVIC

2.22pmThis is simply an incredible situation. Djokovic whizzes and ace down the centre and takes his fifth consecutive game. He's answering what few questions Nadal is asking him in emphatic style. The Monte Carlo crowd is in disbelief at it all and rightly so.

2.26pmDjokovic has two break points but Nadal brings it back to deuce to avoid being bageled for now...

2.30pmNADAL 1-5* DJOKOVIC

2.31pmWell, it won't be a bagel as Nadal gets his first game on the board. Djokovic squandered five set points during what was another brilliant exchange between the pair. The world number one will now serve for the opening set.

2.34pmBREAK! NADAL *2-5 DJOKOVIC

2.35pmNadal digs his heels in and converts his first break point of the game to make this set interesting. Djokovic looked slightly flatter there, while the Spaniard had a spring in his step.

2.42pmSET! NADAL 2-6 DJOKOVIC

2.43pmIt's taken him EIGHT set points to get there but Djokovic takes a 6-2 lead over Nadal following a scintillating 46 minutes of tennis.

2.45pmDespite something of a mini fightback from Nadal, make no mistake that Djokovic is playing as near-perfect as he has ever done on this surface. Pretty much all 14 of his winners were delivered with an almost clinical beauty. However, Nadal is by no means out of this one.

2.46pmOkay then, the players have had a short break and it will be Nadal to serve at the start of this second a set. A set that he has to win in order to keep his dream of nine straight Monte Carlo titles alive.

2.49pmNADAL 2-6 *0-1 DJOKOVIC

2.50pmDjokovic starts the second set in positive fashion with a relatively comfortable hold. He's edging towards his first title at the tournament.

2.51pmNADAL 2-6 1-1* DJOKOVIC

2.52pmThat said, Nadal hold to love to give himself a boost at the beginning of the second.

2.57pmNadal, who is starting to look more like his old self, squanders two break points and we're at deuce. Things are getting tense down on court at this pivotal stage in the match.

2.58pmNADAL 2-6 *1-2 DJOKOVIC

3pmThat was a big game for Djokovic and he comes through it with a hold. A few more tentative exchanges between the players there, but the Serb fights hard to lead 2-1 in the second.

3.04pmNADAL 2-6 2-2* DJOKOVIC

3.05pmThere are a few less gruelling rallies between these two now but the tennis is still of a very high quality indeed. Nadal holds to make it 2-2 thanks to a forehand that he puts right in the corner before a powerful ace down the centre of the court. There's no telling how this set is going to end up just yet.

3.07pmBREAK! NADAL 2-6 *3-2 DJOKOVIC

3.09pmDjokovic's backhand goes wide and Nadal has the break to gain the initiative in this second set. The Serbian looked slightly out of sorts in that game, slamming an ugly forehand into the net to give his opponent two break points before the Spaniard converted the first. The momentum in this match is gradually shifting the way of the eight-time champion.

3.13pmNADAL 2-6 4-2* DJOKOVIC

3.15pmHe does it the hard way but Nadal eventually holds to move two games away from taking this second set. The Spaniard was striking the ball wonderfully throughout that game, hitting a trademark forehand winner down the line on one point.

3.16pmNADAL 2-6 *4-3 DJOKOVIC

3.17pmThat's some response from Djokovic. The world number one holds to love, striking yet more clean forehand winners on the way. While Nadal has been marginally better during this set, Djokovic continues to thwart his opponent when he can.

3.21pmBREAK! NADAL 2-6 4-4* DJOKOVIC

3.23pmIt's back level as Djokovic breaks! That game had a little bit of everything as far as the Serb's play was involved: some adventurous movement at the net, some rasping strokes from the baseline and plenty of determination. Game on.

3.25pmNADAL 2-6 *4-5 DJOKOVIC

3.26pmBoth men are fighting incredibly hard out there now but it's Djokovic who moves to within one game of winning the title. Nadal whacks a fairly simple overhead smash into the net to give his opponent the hold. Nadal will now serve to stay in the final.

3.31pmNADAL 2-6 5-5* DJOKOVIC

3.32pmYet more wonderful tennis from these two as Nadal just about manages to hold. The deftest of backhands at the net from Djokovic brought it back to 40-30 before a shanked forehand gave the Spaniard the hold.

3.36pmBREAK! NADAL 2-6 *6-5 DJOKOVIC

3.37pmNadal has the break and will serve for the second set. Djokovic hits a couple of backhands wide in almost exactly the same place and the Spaniard is one game away from taking this to a deciding set. Both men are grunting like pigs on a farm out there now as they dig deep to keep their dreams of winning the title alive. How much do they have in the tank?

3.40pmBREAK! NADAL 2-6 6-6 DJOKOVIC

3.41pmWould you believe it? Djokovic breaks back to love in emphatic style and we will have a tie-break. The Serbian has yet again pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

3.42pmTIE-BREAK: NADAL *0-2 DJOKOVIC

3.43pmTIE-BREAK: NADAL 1-2* DJOKOVIC

3.44pmTIE-BREAK: NADAL 1-3* DJOKOVIC

3.45pmTIE-BREAK: NADAL *1-4 DJOKOVIC

3.46pmTIE-BREAK: NADAL *1-5 DJOKOVIC

3.47pmTIE-BREAK: NADAL 1-6* DJOKOVIC

3.48pmGAME, SET AND MATCH! NADAL 2-6 6-7(1) DJOKOVIC

3.48pmNOVAK DJOKOVIC WINS THE MONTE CARLO MASTERS

3.49pmNovak Djokovic lets out that familiar roar as a rasping forehand winner sees him clinch the Monte Carlo Masters title. The world number one has been simply sensational today, bringing an end to Rafael Nadal's unbeaten run of 46 matches at the tournament.

3.51pmThat's Djokovic's third title of the year following triumphs at the Australian Open and Dubai, but, more importantly, it's his first in Monte Carlo.

3.53pmAnyway, that's all from me today. I hope that you've enjoyed the coverage and we hope to see you here on Sports Mole soon. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga returns the ball during the match against Jurgen Melzer in the Monte Carlo Masters on April 18, 2013
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