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Djokovic too good for Nadal in Monte Carlo

Novak Djokovic overpowered eight-time champion Rafael Nadal to reach the final of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic was too good for Nadal in Monte Carlo. Credit: Reuters

Djokovic, the world number one, will meet Tomas Berdych in Sunday's final and victory will see the Serb become the first player to sweep the opening three ATP World Tour Masters 1000s of the season.

The 27-year-old has not dropped a set on his 2015 clay-court debut this week and he was simply too good for Nadal as he closed out a comfortable 6-3 6-3 victory in one hour and 38 minutes.

Nadal managed an early break but Australian Open champion Djokovic levelled at 2-2 and broke the Spaniard in the eighth game to take a stranglehold on the first set.

Djokovic's second-set pressure told in the seventh game as he broke for a 4-3 lead and he rattled off the final two games, with only Berdych now in his way from adding the Monte Carlo title to his March Masters wins in Indian Wells and Miami.

Sixth seed Berdych booked a spot in his fourth Masters 1000 final by ending the run of wild card entry Gael Monfils 6-1 6-4.

Nadal suffers shock exit in Miami

Nadal was beaten by Verdasco. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal was dumped out of the Miami Open on Sunday as he suffered a shock defeat to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.

The second seed is a four-time finalist in Florida but has never won the tournament and will have to wait at least another year after going down 6-4 2-6 6-3 to his countryman.

Nadal fought back well after losing the first set and looked to have all the momentum but was broken to go 3-1 down in the third and Verdasco held his nerve to move into the last-16.

British third seed Andy Murray cruised to a 6-3 6-4 victory over Santiago Giraldo with the minimum of fuss.

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Nadal one away from clay-court record

Rafa Nadal is one away from a record. Credit: Reuters

Rafael Nadal secured a record-equalling 46th clay-court title by beating Juan Monaco in the final of the Argentina Open presentado por Buenos Aires Ciudad.

Nadal won 6-4 6-1 in a little under an hour and a half to draw level with Guillermo Vilas for the number of titles won on clay.

Nadal: No excuses over Berdych defeat

Nadal crashed out of the Australian Open. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal refused to make any excuses after his record-equalling winning streak over Tomas Berdych came to a comprehensive end in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Berdych won three of his first four meetings with Nadal but had not tasted victory over the Spaniard since 2006, his 17 straight defeats equalling a record in the open era.

However, the 29-year-old Czech picked the ideal time to end the sequence with a stunning 6-2 6-0 7-6 (7/5) victory on Rod Laver Arena and has yet to drop a set in the championship.

I didn't play with the right intensity, with the right rhythm, and the opponent played better than me.

It is a day that I just can congratulate my opponent. It is obvious that I needed something more to be more competitive, as I did in the third set. The third was the right set, the right game that I have to play.

But is obvious that before I didn't play with the right confidence, with the right intensity, losing court (position), playing very short. I make him play very easy. So you cannot expect to win matches in quarter-finals of a grand slam helping the opponent to play well.

– Rafael Nadal.

Snapshots: Sports photos of the day

Our selection of Friday's best photographs from the wide world of sport.

Russia's synchronised swimming team trains in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Reuters
Rafael Nadal celebrates in style after defeating Dudi Sela of Israel in the Australian Open third round. Credit: Reuters
Man's best friend: A touching scene at the annual Sedivackuv dog sled race in the Czech Republic. Credit: Reuters
An Israeli competitor in the World Medieval Fighting Championship – yes, it exists – suits up. Credit: Reuters

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Teenager knocks Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon

Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of the tournament. Credit: PA Wire

World number one Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of Wimbledon after a shock defeat to Australian Nick Kyrgios.

The 19-year-old, who is ranked 144th in the world and making his Wimbledon debut, beat the Spaniard 7-6 5-7 7-6 6-3 on Centre Court to condemn the two-time champion to a fourth-round exit.

Kyrgios will now play Canada's Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals.

Nadal powers past Federer despite painful blister

World number one Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer to reach the Australian Open final earlier today, despite suffering from a painful blister on his racquet hand.

An injury on the hand of Rafael Nadal during his men's singles semi-final match against Roger Federer Credit: REUTERS/Bobby Yip

The Spaniard, 27, overcame his hand injury and defeated Federer 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-3. He will now face Stanislas Wawrinka for the title on Sunday in Melbourne.

"The blister is good. It looks better every day. We are doing the right things. The blister today is not a problem any more for normal life. It's not painful," said Nadal.

"The problem is to play tennis. The only problem is the position of the blister, the place," he added.

Nadal receiving medical attention during his match against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria in the quarter finals Credit: Joe Castro/AAP

Nadal played with taped up fingers, but was forced to stop and take a medical timeout so his palm injury could be attended to.

Emotional Rafael Nadal beats Djokovic to win US Open

An emotional Rafael Nadal enjoyed one of the most special slam titles of his career after defeating Novak Djokovic to win the US Open. He won 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 after three hours and 21 minutes.

After shaking hands with the world number one, Nadal lay flat on his front sobbing into the court before celebrating with his team.

Rafael Nadal with his US Open title trophy. Credit: Reuters.

Speaking afterwards he said this season had been one of the "most emotional" of his career.

"I felt that I did everything right to have my chance here. You play a match against one of the best players in history like Novak on probably his favourite surface, so I knew I had to be almost perfect to win.

"It means a lot for me have this trophy with me today. It's just amazing. I'm very, very happy, and I just say thank you very much to everybody who helped me to make that possible. It's a really special moment for me."

Steve Darcis: No one expected me to beat Nadal

Steve Darcis beat Rafael Nadal in straight sets Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The Belgian outsider who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbledon said he took advantage of the Spaniard's rusty display to produce a shock result.

Steve Darcis, ranked 135 in the world, said: "Nobody was expecting my win today. Rafa didn't play his best tennis, but I knew the first match on grass is always difficult.

"I tried to do what I like to do, come to the net as soon as I can, not play too far from the baseline. I don't know what to say right now, I'm really happy."

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