Rafael Nadal raised his dominance on clay to another level in Monte Carlo 2010, embracing one of the most incredible runs toward a Masters 1000 title! Rafa lifted his sixth consecutive trophy in the Principality and returned to the winning way after almost a year without enjoying success on the Tour!
The Spaniard did not play badly in the past 11 months before Monte Carlo 2010, collecting eight losses in the semi-final or final but missing that final touch that would have sent him over the top. That all changed at his familiar ground in Monte Carlo, winning his 37th ATP title in the most effective style ever seen at the Masters 1000 event and writing the record books.
Nadal lost only 14 games in five encounters to demolish his opponents and get his hands on the trophy that turned his season in the right direction. He would carry this form into the rest of the clay season, winning all three Masters 1000 tournaments and Roland Garros in a single season for the first time and becoming world no.
1 again. Fernando Verdasco stood no chance against the king of clay in the title clash, losing 6-0, 6-1 in an hour and 26 minutes in one of the most one-sided Masters 1000 finals. It was their tenth meeting and the tenth victory for Nadal, who never lost a set against Fernando on clay in four encounters.
Rafael Nadal lost one game against Fernando Verdasco in the 2010 Monte Carlo final.
Rafa dropped 36% of the points in his games. It did not cost him much, facing five break chances in his final service game and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.
He was all over Verdasco on the return, grabbing 64% of the points and notching six breaks from 14 opportunities to rule the scoreboard and bring the match home in no time. Fernando could only do a little on the return besides that last game.
Still, he could have clinched a few more games, reaching deuce in five games and having a 40-30 or 30-40 in nine out of 13 games. He lost most of those against a focused rival who kept his level on a high note from start to finish.
Fernando did find some range in set number two and stayed on level terms with Nadal in the winners department. Still, we can not say the same about his errors tally, which remained high, often missing in the most critical moments and attaching only a single game to his name.
Verdasco could not move Nadal from his comfort zone or impose his forehand. Rafa easily defended and kept his backhand safe to control the pace with his deep and powerful topspin forehands. Nadal had a slim 6-5 advantage in service winners and 16-13 in the direct points from the field, with a forehand as the dominant shot on each side.
Those numbers were far from enough to create such a huge contrast on the scoreboard. That brings us to the errors department, where Verdasco lost ground and ruined his chances for a more favorable result. Nadal tamed his shots nicely.
He hit from his comfort zone and defended against the rival's attacks efficiently, drawing Verdasco into too many errors, seeking lines and those small parts of the court that Rafa would leave open. Nadal stayed on nine unforced errors, while Fernando counted 25, missing equally from both wings and usually in the pivotal moments that could have kept him in the encounter a couple of games longer.
He also had 14 forced mistakes, and Nadal stayed on just seven, bringing the overall errors to 39-16 in Nadal's favor, a segment that gave him the title. Rafa had a clear 19-5 advantage in the exchanges with nine strokes or more, constructing the points more efficiently and staying away from mistakes to build a 21-15 lead in the mid-range rallies with five to eight shots.
The shortest exchanges up to four strokes worked in his favor, winning 23 out of 38 to emerge as a deserved champion for the sixth straight year in the Principality.
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