Rafael Nadal ended his four-year wait for a ninth Monte Carlo Masters title by defeating Gael Monfils 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 on Sunday in his 100th career final.
Nadal won eight consecutive titles before losing the 2013 final to Novak Djokovic and, after struggling for fitness in recent years, he demonstrated his return to form by overwhelming the home favourite in the third set to win his 28th Masters title.
Monfils, seeded 13th and looking to become the tournament’s first French winner since Cedric Pioline, started strongly, exchanging consecutive break points with Nadal, before losing the first set 7-5.
Monfils broke Nadal to take an early 2-1 lead in the second, but the Spaniard broke back to level at 4-4 before Monfils wrestled back the initiative to take the set.
Nadal dominated the final set, however, breaking Monfils, who appeared drained by his earlier exertions, three times to win his first Masters title since 2014 and his 48th clay crown.