Davis Cup - Nadal thrashes Monaco in final opener
The supposed demise of Rafael Nadal was shown to be premature as he destroyed Juan Monaco 6-1 6-1 6-2 in the first singles rubber of the Davis Cup final at the Olympic Stadium in Seville.
Nadal looked back to something approaching his best following his poor showing at the ATP Tour Finals in London.
Spain now lead Argentina 1-0 ahead of the late afternoon clash between David Ferrer and Juan Martin Del Potro.
Nadal raced through the opening set with little problem. Monaco fended off three break points in the opening game, but it was all downhill for the Argentine from there.
He failed to get a look in as Nadal cut out the unforced errors and out-powered his opponent, reeling off six games in a row.
The second set featured more of the same. Monaco started solidly, once again holding his opening serve. But he was left demoralised after Nadal won an improbable rally midway through the set.
Monaco battered a couple of smashes down, Nadal doing brilliantly to return each one with interest. More shots on the front foot from the Argentine were repelled and with one glimpse at the passing shot, Nadal hit unerringly down the line.
The third set looked briefly to be a closer affair, but Nadal got the crucial break at 2-2 following a quite incredible point.
Monaco lobbed Nadal twice, with the Spaniard returning the first with a twisting smash, then the second with his back to court as he scampered to the baseline. Nadal dropped the ball just over the net where they then exchanged shots at close quarters before Nadal finally sliced crosscourt for the break.
It proved to be the last piece of resistance from Monaco as the world number two reeled off the final three games with ease.