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Nadal wins record fifth Monte Carlo title

  • Story Highlights
  • King of Clay Nadal shrugs off loss of middle set to win Monte Carlo crown
  • Spaniard has now won five straight titles in the principality
  • Djokovic puts up fine showing in his first appearance in Monte Carlo final
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(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 6-2 2-6 6-1 to become the first player to win five successive Monte Carlo Masters titles on Sunday.

Nadal gets his hands on the Monte Carlo trophy for the fifth straight time.

Nadal gets his hands on the Monte Carlo trophy for the fifth straight time.

The world number one was made to work hard by his Serbian opponent and dropped his first set in the principality since the 2006 final against Roger Ferderer before powering through the decider.

Rated by many as the greatest player in clay court history, Nadal extended his winning streak in Monte Carlo to 27 matches.

"It is always really important for me start the clay season like this, for the confidence," Nadal told the ATP Tour official Web site

"To win another time here is more than a dream for me, is unbelievable, a fifth title here in Monte Carlo. I never expect something like this."

Nadal will go into the second grand slam of the season at Stade Roland Garros as hot favorite to add to his Australian Open triumph, but world number threee Djokovic can take heart from pushing him all the way.

Nadal took the first set after trailing 3-1, running off five straight games, but he struggled with his service in the second set with the tide apparenty turning to Djokovic who was playing in the final in Monte Carlo for the first time.

The key to the match was Nadal's opening service game in the third set as Djokovic wasted three break points and was never ahead.

Trailing 2-0 he did break Nadal again, but in an echo of the opening set lost the next four games to slide to defeat.

"I think I've played a very good match, actually one of the best I have played against him on this surface," said Djokovic.

"It's really unfortunate that in certain moments I didn't play the way I was supposed to play, with a little bit more patience. I went for too much. He used his strength and his experience playing in the big matches and just waited wisely for his chances, then he used them."

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