Joy for Nadal in Qatar
Rafael Nadal enjoyed the ideal preparation for the Australian Open as he beat Gael Monfils to win the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha.
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The world number one had looked short of his best in the build-up to the final, but he simply blew Monfils away during the opening set, which he took 6-1 after just 23 minutes.
But Frenchman Monfils bravely rallied in the second set, and led 3-0 at one point before edging a tie-breaker 7/5.
A thrilling final set had been in prospect, but when Nadal broke early in the decider he ruthlessly marched away to take a 6-1 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 victory and claim his 61st career title.
It also marks the first time the Spaniard has won the first tournament he has entered in a calendar year.