Seven years ago the top men in world tennis arrived in Monte-Carlo, the first Masters 1000 on clay in the calendar year more in hope than expectation.
For eight consecutive years there was only one winner at the Monte-Carlo Country Club and that was Rafael Nadal.
During this eight year period he defeated everyone and went on a 46 match winning streak at the event before he lost his final in Monte-Carlo to Novak Djokovic.
To begin his week the world number one had to orchestrate his way around a tough opening two matches falling a set down to Mikhail Youzhny and Juan Monaco.
From there on in he didn’t drop a set on his way to lifting his first title in Monte-Carlo and ending the 46 match unbeaten run of Rafael Nadal.
Despite the knowledge that Rafa was unbeaten in 46 in Monte-Carlo it didn’t stop Djokovic from being the more composed and settled early on.
A backhand which skidded off the tramline unsettled the Spaniard who hooked his own backhand to give Novak and early break for a 3-0 lead.
The level from the world number one was exceptional, he camped on that baseline and continued to hit the ball soo deep as he broke again to lead 5-0.
Another sweet backhand down the line followed by a forehand looked like setting up the bagel for Djokovic and saw two set points.
The Spaniard stopped the embarrassment of being bageled and then broke back himself before the world number one restored parity to take the opener 6-2.
The man who didn’t miss suddenly began to miss, the backhand which had been so solid painting the lines throughout and now a break down in the second.
Throughout his career we’ve seen Djokovic dig deep and from a 2-4 position to be 5-4 ahead and back in the driving seat of the final.
Nadal continued to pester Djokovic who saw another backhand go the wrong side of the line and at 5-5 was broken… Nadal relayed the favour immediately and was broken to love taking the second set to a tie-break.
It was one way traffic in the tie-break and at 6-1 a forehand sealed the title and ended Rafael Nadal’s 46 match unbeaten run in Monte-Carlo!