Final Preview: Nadal vs. Ramos-Vinolas
The fourth all-Spanish championship in the Open Era at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Sunday features nine-time champion and No. 4 seed Rafael Nadal against No. 15 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who is appearing in his first ATP Masters 1000 final. With a win, Nadal would become the first man in the Open Era to win 10 tournament titles and 50 career clay-court titles. It would also be his 70th career ATP World Tour level title and 29th ATP Masters 1000 crown. This is the first all- left-handed final in Monte-Carlo since 2010 when Nadal beat countryman Fernando Verdasco.
Here are the other all-Spanish finals at the Monte-Carlo Country Club:
2011 – Rafael Nadal d. David Ferrer
2010 – Rafael Nadal d. Fernando Verdasco
2002 – Juan Carlos Ferrero d. Carlos Moya
Nadal has won both previous meetings in straight sets against Ramos-Vinolas, in 2013-14 Barcelona. Nadal has never lost to a countryman in an ATP World Tour level final, compiling a 14-0 record, with eight wins over David Ferrer and one each over Nicolas Almagro, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alberto Martin, Albert Montanes, Tommy Robredo, and Fernando Verdasco.
Nadal is appearing in his 11th Monte-Carlo final (9-1) with his lone loss coming to Djokovic in 2013. The 30-year-old reigning champion is appearing in his fourth final of the season (0-3) and he’s trying to earn his first ATP World Tour title in almost a year to the day on Apr. 24, 2016 in Barcelona (d. Nishikori). Nadal is appearing in his 58th career clay court final (49-8 record) and he’s trying to win an ATP World Tour title for the 14th straight year (since 2004). Nadal is 28 -15 in ATP Masters 1000 finals (second to Djokovic’s 30) and overall he is 69-35 in finals.
Ramos-Vinolas is putting together his career-best week and he’s posted back-to-back Top 10 wins for the first time, defeating World No. 1 Andy Murray in the 3R and No. 8 Marin Cilic in the QFs. In the SFs he beat No. 17 Lucas Pouille, all in three sets. Coming into this week, he was 3-26 lifetime against Top 10 opponents. The No. 24-ranked Spaniard is trying to become the first player outside the Top 20 to win the Monte-Carlo title since No. 31 Alberto Mancini in 1989 (d. Becker). The last player outside the Top 20 to earn an ATP Masters 1000 title was No. 26 Ivan Ljubicic at 2010 Indian Wells (d. Roddick). On Monday, the 29-year-old Spaniard will crack the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time at No. 19 and will climb to No. 14 if he wins the title