Relieved Nadal wins 9th Monte Carlo title

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first_imgMONACO (AP):The relief was evident for Rafael Nadal as he overcame a sloppy performance on his serve to beat Frenchman Gael Monfils 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 yesterday and get his hands on the Monte Carlo Masters trophy for the ninth time.This was the Spaniard’s first tournament win in Monte Carlo since the last of his eight straight titles there in 2012. It is also the record-equalling 28th Masters title for Nadal, bringing him alongside top-ranked Novak Djokovic.He sank to his knees after sealing victory with a brilliant forehand winner, tilting his head back, closing his eyes to savour his biggest tournament win since the French Open in June, 2014 and his first at a Masters event since Madrid a few weeks before that.”It has been a very important week. The victory confirms that I am better,” Nadal said. “Monte Carlo is one of the most important places for me, without a doubt.”first title of the yearIt was his first title of the year, having won only three in 2015 when he was riddled with self-doubt and became a prey on clay, rather than a predator.Last year, Djokovic battered him in the French Open quarter-finals; Stan Wawrinka beat him in the Rome Masters quarter-finals in straight sets; Andy Murray routed him in the Madrid final 6-3, 6-2; Djokovic won 6-3, 6-3 in the Monte Carlo semi-finals; and even erratic Italian Fabio Fognini beat him twice – in Rio and Barcelona.”I’m enjoying it after some tough moments,” said the fifth-ranked Nadal. “Last year was a tough year. The nerves that I had, I was anxious in the matches.”resilience coming backAlthough Nadal says he is “still not 100 per cent”, his famed resilience is coming back.”This week, I was able to increase my level when things became tough, like I did before,” he said. “We will see how things are in the next six months (but) I have to enjoy this moment. Tomorrow, I will start to think about Barcelona, another important event.”It took him 2 hours, 46 minutes to finally see off Monfils, who had never won a set against Nadal on clay and had lost 11 of their 13 previous matches.”You just have to accept he’s a bit better.” Monfils said. “He increased his intensity and changed the way he was playing.”Nadal dropped his serve five times against the 13th-seeded Monfils in a topsy-turvy encounter in which they conceded 34 break-point chances between them.Playing in his 100th final, Nadal clinched his 68th title and his first since winning on clay at Hamburg last August. His previous final was in January routed by Djokovic in Doha.last_img read more


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first_img1 Transfer rumours and paper review Here are the top transfer-related stories in Friday’s newspapers…Manchester United have put all their major transfers on hold because of the increasing uncertainty over Louis van Gaal’s future. It has been reported the Dutchman may quit the club at the end of the season, a year early, over the high pressure of the job at Old Trafford. (Daily Mirror)The agent of in-demand striker Alexandre Pato has confirmed four clubs – including Chelsea and Liverpool – have a chance of signing the 26-year-old Brazilian, but insisted that no bids have yet been made. (UOL Esporte) Branislav Ivanovic appears to have agreed a new one-year deal at Chelsea. (Daily Express)However, the Blues are facing a battle to convince midfielder Nemanja Matic he has a future at Stamford Bridge, with the 27-year-old currently debating his future at Stamford Bridge and considering an exit. (Daily Mail) Former Chelsea and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres could soon be the highest-paid player in the world, with eight offers on the table according to his agent.  (The Sun) Man United are considering ending their interest in Lazio’s Felipe Anderson. The Red Devils are said to be put off by the 22-year-old Brazil midfielder’s price tag and recent form. (Bleacher Report) Meanwhile, United have taken 15-year-old Polish goalkeeper Bartosz Mrozek on trial. (Przeglad Sportowy) Russian club Zenit St Petersburg want Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini to take charge when Andre Villas-Boas leaves at the end of the season. (Daily Star) Crystal Palace are considering offering a six-month contract to striker Emmanuel Adebayor, 31, who is a free agent after being released by Tottenham. (Guardian) Newcastle have tabled a £7million bid for Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis. (The Sun)However, Newcastle look likely to end their interest in Andros Townsend after Tottenham refused to lower their £14m valuation of the 24-year-old England winger. (Guardian) Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has revealed he is looking for two outfield players and a goalkeeper, but refused to confirm whether he wants to sign Swansea striker Andre Ayew. (Chronicle Live) Former Brazil midfielder Ronaldinho, 35, says he has no plans to retire and will look for a new club after celebrating the Rio carnival in February. (Goal.com)And here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…?Daniel Sturridge defended by his former coach amid growing pressure: ‘I know the Liverpool player well, he loves the game’Stuart Pearce has had no contact with Bristol City, but says it is a club ‘you’d certainly go talk to’Graeme Souness: ‘This might be the best Tottenham team since the Bill Nicholson days’Arsenal MUST believe we can win the Premier League title, insists Theo WalcottNewcastle transfer report: Espanyol youngster emerges as £1million targetSouthampton and Stoke in battle to sign Porto midfielder Giannelli ImbulaMiddlesbrough working on deal for £12m Southampton flop Gaston Ramirezlast_img read more


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first_img Euro 2016 and Champions League to feature goal-line technology Goal-line technology will be used at Euro 2016 this summer and in the Champions League from next season after UEFA’s executive committee gave the green light to introducing the system.Suspended UEFA president Michel Platini had been a long-time opponent of technology, but he allowed UEFA officials to review its use for Euro 2016 in his native France before his eight-year ban was imposed by FIFA’s ethics committee.The success of goal-line technology in the Premier League and World Cup proved crucial, especially after high-profile incidents in major competitions. Ukraine were denied a goal against England at Euro 2012, while two years earlier Frank Lampard was denied a World Cup goal for England against Germany.UEFA will maintain its system of having an extra official behind each goal as well as the technology.UEFA’s referees chief Pierluigi Collina said: “This is not a decision we have taken quickly. We have been looking at it for the last year and a half.“We are convinced implementing goal-line technology will be a further step in better control of the match.“We are happy with the additional assistant referees even if we know that from the outside their contribution is not always appreciated.” 1last_img read more