Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - Rafael Nadal's luck finally ran out in Monte Carlo.
Novak Djokovic did the unthinkable on Sunday and stopped Nadal's run of eight straight Monte Carlo Masters titles with a 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victory in the final of the prestigious clay-court tournament.
Nadal had won 46 straight matches on the red clay of the Monte Carlo Country Club and carried a 48-1 mark into the final of the French Open tune-up. The only player ever to beat the Spanish superstar at this event prior to Sunday was Guillermo Coria in the third round of the 2003 tournament.
"It is not a tragedy," said Nadal after the match. "I lost after eight years without losing here. Today, he was better than me. He's a fantastic player. If you are not at 100 percent, (it) is very difficult to win against these kinds of players. His game is very complete. To win, I have to play my best and I have to bring him to the limit."
Djokovic had twice been a Nadal victim during his eight-year reign, falling to the clay-court king in the 2009 and 2012 finals. The Serbian star was also just 2-12 lifetime against Nadal on clay entering the match.
Things were different Sunday, and it started with a rain delay of about 45 minutes.
When play finally began, Djokovic looked like the clay master. He won the first set in 49 minutes, dropping just 12 points in the first five games. It did take until his eighth set point to finally win it, only doing so when Nadal committed a double fault.
"The first six, seven games, eight games, were unbelievable," said Djokovic. "It's the best that I can play on clay. It's the only way you can win against Rafa. I had the right intensity on the court, the right kind of focus. The first five games was a perfect, perfect play."
Nadal regrouped and opened a 4-2 lead in the second set, but Djokovic battled back to win the next two games and the set eventually went to a tiebreaker, which Djokovic dominated. He finished it off with a forehand down the line.
Djokovic earned his third title of 2013, following wins at the Australian Open and Dubai. He improved to 37-19 all-time in finals, including 14-10 in Masters title matches.
"I think anybody who saw my expression in the end saw that it was a very emotional win. It's a very joyful moment for me," said Djokovic. "I wanted that trophy badly all my life, especially in the last six, seven years that I've been spending my time and living here between the tournaments in Monaco. This is a great confidence boost before the rest of the clay-court season."
It was the 34th meeting between the stars. Djokovic improved to 15-19 in the series and is now 8-8 against Nadal in their 16 finals matchups. Nadal had won the last three, including a four-set triumph last year in the final of the French Open.
Nadal fell to 53-23 in finals, including 3-2 this year. He's only played five events in 2013 after recovering from a knee injury that sidelined him for seven months last year. After falling to Horacio Zeballos in the title match at Vina del Mar in his return back in February, he won titles in Sao Paolo, Acapulco and Indian Wells.
Also ending for Nadal was an 81-match clay win streak in the month of April. His last loss on clay in April came in 2005 against Igor Andreev in the Valencia quarterfinals.
Djokovic claimed a first prize of $655,000.