Nadal says sayonara to Monfils in Tokyo final

World no. 1 Rafael Nadal shook off his draining semi-final to hammer Gael Monfils 6-1 7-5 in the final of the Japan Open in Tokyo on Sunday.

Nadal was forced to save two match points as he edged past Victor Troicki in a third-set tie-break in Saturday's semi, and given Monfils' straightforward progression past Radek Stepanek, Nadal could have been forgiven for looking the wearier of the two finalists in the decider.

But he took control of the match from the outset, racing to a set lead before Monfils could find his serving rhythm. The Frenchman gained traction with his serve in the second set - sending down seven aces - but he still couldn't make a dent in Nadal's delivery and was thwarted by a sole break.

Nadal dropped just seven points on serve across the entire match, which represented his seventh victory over Monfils from eight meetings.

"It's very important for me to win a title," said Nadal. "I want to finish the season well, and it's a perfect way to finish the season. So I'm happy for that. I enjoy this moment, because winning a title is difficult.

"I won a lot this year, but I know it's difficult to keep winning. I'm going to try to play my best in Shanghai [next week] and the rest of the season and the Masters Cup in London, the most difficult tournament for me. But if I'm physically and mentally OK, I hope to keep having chances to have good matches."

It was Nadal's 43rd career title and his seventh for 2010.


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