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Nadal beats Nishikori to win 11th Monte Carlo Masters title

© AFP | Rafael Nadal looks in ominous form with just over a month to go before the French Open

MONTE CARLO (PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO) (AFP) - 

Rafael Nadal romped to a record 11th Monte Carlo Masters title by brushing aside Kei Nishikori in Sunday's final to retain the world number one ranking.

The 31-year-old saw off Nishikori 6-3, 6-2 to become the first man to win a tournament 11 times in the Open era with his 76th ATP Tour triumph.

Nadal's 31st Masters title is also an outright record, pulling him out of a tie with Novak Djokovic.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion's era of utter dominance on clay looks unlikely to end any time soon after Nadal took his run of consecutive sets won on the surface to 36.

The Spaniard will next set his sights on an 11th Barcelona Open victory next week, and it is hard to see anyone preventing him from extending his record number of 10 French Open titles at Roland Garros at the end of the clay-court season.

He was pushed by Japan's Nishikori early on and fell a break down, but roared back against an opponent who appeared beaten midway through the first set.

It was still an excellent week for former world number four Nishikori, who only returned from a four-month absence with a right wrist injury in January.

© 2018 AFP