Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tennis is live from Monte Carlo from 10-17 April 2016. Watch and bet on tennis live from Monte Carlo at 365
Just two men remain after a chaotic week at the Monte Carlo Country Club in Monaco, with Rafael Nadal and Gael Monfils to collide on Sunday to determine who will reign supreme at the third ATP Masters 1000 event of the season. Nadal recovered from a set down to defeat Andy Murray 2-2 6-4 6-2 in his semi-final encounter, while Monfils produced a superb performance to topple compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 6-3.
With Novak Djokovic bombing out in the second round to Jiri Vesely, a sense of unpredictably immediately surrounded the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, but in the end we have an extremely familiar face in the final against a man who has transformed into a beacon of consistency in 2016.
Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters final - Rafael Nadal v Gael Monfils, 2.30pm local time/1.30pm GMT
Nadal’s triumph over Murray secured the Spaniard’s spot in his 100th career final and his 10th title match in Monte Carlo. The 14-time grand slam champion possesses a tournament best 57-4 record, winning eight straight titles in Monte Carlo between 2005-2012, however he has not captured the silverware since. If Nadal can win on Sunday he will draw level with Djokovic for most ATP Masters 1000 titles won with 28.
Monfils meanwhile is searching for his maiden Masters 1000 title after previously making back-to-back finals at Paris in 2009 and 2010. Monfils is the first Frenchman to reach the Monte Carlo final since Cedric Pioline in 2000 and is the first 10-plus seeded player to play for the title since Nadal won his maiden Monte Carlo crown in 2005. Playing in his second final of the season (lost to Klizan in Rotterdam), Monfils will crack the top 10 for the first time since 2011 if he wins the title.
Nadal and Monfils have played each other 13 times on tour, with their first match coincidentally coming at Monte Carlo over a decade ago in 2005 - which Nadal won on his way to the title. Overall Nadal holds a dominant 11-2 record over Monfils, including four wins on clay. Monfils’s two victories both came at Doha at the start of the season - in 2009 and 2012.
World no. 1 Novak Djokovic has swept the year's Masters 1000 Series titles so far, completing an incredible fourth Indian Wells-Miami double. But now the ATP World Tour turns its attention to red clay and the European clay-court season begins in earnest at Monte Carlo, with eight-time champion Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka all due to play the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters - which will also witness the return to competition of Roger Federer for the first time since the Australian Open when the first clay-court Masters event of the season begins on 10 April 2016.
Eight-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal will return in 2016 (Julian Finney/Getty Images)
The ever-popular Monte-Carlo Masters is the first of three clay-court Masters 1000 Series events in the ATP season. The tournament has enjoyed a rich history since its debut way back in 1897, with legends from Anthony Wilding (1908, 1911-14) to Ivan Lendl (1985-1988) claiming the elite trophy.
In the Open Era, the event has seen some of its greatest days. Ilie Nastase won the tournament three straight times (1971-1973) to kick off a new stage of its history, and is currently in a three-way Open Era tie for most titles gained. Bjorn Borg (1977, 1979-80), Guillermo Vilas (1976, 1981-82) and Thomas Muster (1992, 1995-96) have also achieved that many.
However, a tally that appears impressive is dwarfed by the deeply incredible feat of the renowned King of Clay - Spain's Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard did not lose once from his event debut in 2005 until the 2013 final versus Novak Djokovic, making his streak of eight lossless tournaments an Open Era record by a clear five titles.
Roger Federer returns to Monte Carlo in 2016 (Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Since this dominance, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters has seen two new champions crowned. Novak Djokovic won the 2013 and 2015 titles - a 6-2 7-6(1) win over Nadal preceding his latest 7-5 4-6 6-3 defeat of Tomas Berdych. These two victories sandwiched the triumph of another debut winner - Stan Wawrinka - who beat fellow Swiss star Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6(5) 6-2 for the 2014 crown.
Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal will all be back to compete this year for the 1000 ranking points that go to the champion. They will be joined by another strong title contender in Andy Murray - who upped his clay-court game considerably in 2015, and gave the competition reason to be nervous - and the ever-popular Roger Federer, four times a runner-up in Monte Carlo, who hasn't played since the Australian Open.
From flamboyant Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to fast-rising youngsters like Alexander Zverev, top 20 talents such as Feliciano Lopez to big-time talents like Kei Nishikori, the Monte-Carlo field will surely produce some dramatic clashes. You can watch them all live online from Sunday 10-Sunday 17 April, 2016.
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