World number one Rafael Nadal won his first Japan Open title today in his first appearance at the ATP 500 tournament.
He beat 15th seed Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-1 7-5.
Nadal came on court pumped up and ready to go.
“I started playing at high intensity, and that’s why I won the match,” he said. “I was very comfortable with myself.”
He started of the match with some aggressive and heavy ground-strokes which Monfils could not handle. He finished off the first set with an unstoppable forehand down the line but Monfils, who at one point early in the match fell and turned his ankle, came back strong in the second set.
Monfils showed the energy that we all know him for; scrambling balls down, running around the court and challenging Nadal. But in the 11th game of the second set a lucky net-cord gave Nadal a break point which the world No. 1 took, with a sliced backhand return that cruised past Monfils and hit the line.
Nadal then held his service to take the second set and the match 6-1 7-5.
“I have to enjoy this moment,” the 9 time Grand Slam champion said. “You never know when it will end.”
As for Monfils he stated that his fall had nothing to do with him losing the match.
“It only affected me for a few seconds,” he said. “I think Rafael just played solid. I could not find a solution.”
This was Nadal's 43rd career title and his seventh of the season. He is 7-1 in finals this year, his only loss coming from Davydenko in Doha earlier in the year.
He pocketed $260,000 for winning in Japan and celebrated with his trademark biting of the trophy.