Dominant Nadal marches past Monfils
Madrid: Rafael Nadal's remarkable run on clay showed no sign of stopping at the Madrid Open on Wednesday (AEST) as he beat Gael Monfils 6-3 6-1 in the second round.
Nadal arrived in the Spanish capital having lifted his 11th titles in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, while also protecting two streaks on the red dirt.
The world number one has now won his last 20 matches on clay and has racked up 48 consecutive sets – just one short of John McEnroe's record on a single surface.
It was not a vintage Nadal performance early on but he once again had too much for Monfils, registering a 14th win over the flamboyant Frenchman.
Monfils tried to mix up his game to put Nadal off his stride, sliced drop-shots interspersed with booming forehands that occasionally bore fruit.
All too often Nadal was equal to his antics, though, his whipped forehand proving a decisive weapon as he ploughed through the opening set.
Serving for the set at 5-3, Nadal wasted little time in racing to 40-15, the top seed only needing one chance to move ahead as Monfils sent a backhand long from the baseline.
Monfils chatted to the crowd as he waited for Nadal in between sets, but when his opponent took to court he immediately broke – the world number 41 unable to match the consistency of his rival.
As Monfils' frustrations grew, Nadal turned the screw to devastating effect, his rhythm a joy to watch for the packed crowds on Manolo Santana.
His progression into round three was more of a procession late on, a running forehand down the line drawing applause from all around the stadium — including from the other side of the net.
The five-time champion broke for a third time in the second set to seal his
victory, converting his
third match point as another Gael Monfils groundstroke flew long.