Controversy as Nadal defeats Goffin in Monte Carlo

In addition, at the age of 30 years and 10 months Nadal is also the 4th oldest victor of the Masters 1000 trophy, behind Roger Federer, Andre Agassi and Ivan Ljubicic.

Nadal's 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, one shy of record-holder Novak Djokovic (30), marks the first time in the Open Era (since April 1968) that any player has won a singles tournament on 10 occasions.

After accepting his 10th trophy in Monte Carlo, he spoke with the air of a man who is aware that he is nearing the end of his career and thanked everybody for their support over the years.

It was Nadal's first title of the season, having lost his previous three finals - two of those to Roger Federer. He will also attempt to move past Guillermo Vilas and into first place on the all-time clay-court title list with 50.

Goffin's reward for beating Djokovic is a match against nine-time Monte Carlo victor Rafael Nadal. It's something that makes me feel very happy. "Thanks to life for giving me this opportunity". It's a very important part of the season for me and a very special one.

"To be honest, I think I'm playing good".

Earlier, Spanish clay-court specialist Albert Ramos-Vinolas followed up his victory over Murray with a 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 victory against Croatian fifth seed Marin Cilic.

The Belgian never recovered and Nadal blazed through the rest of the match, which he won in less than an hour.

"It really is unbelievable", Nadal, who won eight Monte Carlo titles in a row from 2005 to 2012 before regaining it past year, said. "It will be a very tough final so I must play my best", Nadal was quoted as saying by Sky Sports ahead of Sunday's final.

Nadal has one more hurdle to overcome in his bid to win a tenth Monte Carlo crown in the shape of Albert Ramos-Vinolas after his compatriot beat home favourite Lucas Pouille in straight sets.

The pressure was back on the second-ranked Djokovic to hold and force a tiebreak, but Goffin kept coming at him and Djokovic also had to cope with a time violation during that tense 12th game for taking too long to serve.

"It's the best win of my career", the 10th-seeded Goffin said. "He has a little bit more power than me".

Rafael Nadal added yet another feather to his cap by clinching a record-extending 10th Monte Carlo Masters at the Principality of Monaco on Sunday.

  • Julie Sanders