Rafael Nadal and Albert Ramos-Vinolas will be squaring off for the third time in their careers when they clash in the final of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Sunday afternoon.
The 30-year-old won 6-1, 6-3 to defend his title at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and claim a record-breaking 50 clay court crown, taking him clear of Argentina's Guillermo Vilas as the most successful man on the surface. That's a scintillating winning percentage of.916.
Nadal had no such trouble making his way to the Monte-Carlo final.
Nadal, the fourth seed from Spain, is also targeting a tenth Roland Garros trophy this year and gave his confidence a timely boost with his first ATP title since triumphing in Barcelona a year ago. And now he has a chance to do it three times in seven weeks.
Speaking afterwards, Nadal could not hide his delight.
"I imagine the ball was out but I was on the other side, I could not see the mark", said Nadal, who will play his 11th Monte Carlo final on Sunday. "He has a little bit more power than me".
"I feel comfortable here". That makes me happy. "I had a tough start to the season".
Indeed, another break followed and Nadal capitalised on his first set point to move ahead.
The match was over in 76 minutes. No. 2 Novak Djokovic exited after a quarterfinal loss to David Goffin.
"That is something that I never dreamed, so I can just say thanks to life for giving me this opportunity and thank you very much to all the people for their great support during all the years".
The 29-year-old Ramos-Vilonas, ranked 24th in the world before the tournament kicked off, is expected to break into the top 10, after getting to his first ever ATP Masters tournament final.
Nadal's 70 titles are three better than Djokovic, who is a year younger. World No. 7 Nadal earned 1,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and will now travel to Barcelona, where he will look to further add to his legacy as the undisputed â€˜King of Clay', with 820,035 euros in prize money. He will also have his sights set on a 10th title in Barcelona next week - Nadal's previous career title was there, nearly one year ago. After winning back-to-back titles in Madrid (2013-14) and Rome (2012-13), Rafa has reached two quarterfinals, a semifinal and a final.