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Rafa Nadal equals Novak Djokovic record with Monte Carlo Masters title

By Robert Jones

Rafael Nadal stepped up his recovery from injury and illness as he outlasted Frenchman Gael Monfils to claim the ninth Monte Carlo Masters title of his career.

Nadal shared two tightly competitive sets with his opponent before turning on the style in the decider for a 7-5 5-7 6-0 win for his first tour title of the year.

The Spaniard's win also ensures he matches world number one Novak Djokovic by winning his 28th career Masters title.

"I had a tough season last year, but I've had better preparation this year - even with a tough start to the season," said Nadal, who withdrew from last month's Miami Open with a virus.

"It's great to win a Masters title again. I hope this week will help me a lot."

Victory capped a stunning week for Nadal, who has struggled for form since taking seven months out because of a knee injury. Meanwhile, Jamie Murray will still be No 1 in doubles when the world rankings are updated today but the 30-year-old Scot is still waiting for his first Masters Series title.

Murray and his partner, Bruno Soares, took the first set against Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters but were outplayed in the latter stages as the Frenchmen won 4-6, 6-0, 10-6.

Saturday's semi-final victory over Marcelo Melo and Ivan Dodig had been enough to keep Murray at the top of the world order, but Mahut and Herbert are on a remarkable run.

This was their third successive Masters Series title following their triumphs at Indian Wells and Miami.

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