From Comcast SportsNetMONACO (AP) -- Rafael Nadal finally managed to beat Novak Djokovic in a final, thrashing the top-ranked Serb 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday to win the Monte Carlo Masters for the eighth consecutive year and end a run of seven straight defeats to his rival in title matches.Nadal was hardly troubled by Djokovic in this one and broke the Serb's serve five times in a one-sided affair on clay to win his 42nd straight match at Monte Carlo. It was his first title since last year's French Open and the 47th of his career."I always loved this tournament since I was a kid. One of my dreams was play here," Nadal said. "It's a historic tournament (where) you see all your idols when you are a kid playing here."The 25-year-old Nadal thrust his hands in the air after clinching victory in style with an ace that flew past the beleaguered Djokovic, who beat Nadal in an epic Australian Open final this year."If you see the finals I win here, all the finals are against probably top-six players," Nadal said. "That's something that makes the victories even more difficult."Nadal now leads their head-to-head series 17-14, but it was his first win against Djokovic since an early match at the 2010 ATP Finals in London. The Serb had beaten Nadal in three consecutive Grand Slam finals and handed him his only defeats on clay last year."Winning against Novak in (the) final after losing a few ones is important for me," Nadal said. "My level of tennis was high during the last four matches."Nadal was also relieved to come through the tournament without further aggravating his troublesome left knee, having rested it and had treatment for three weeks before coming to Monte Carlo."I am very happy because my knee is not limiting (my) movement. I can run 100 percent," Nadal said. "You have pain, but (if) you feel you can run to every ball, (then) the pain never is a problem."Nadal has won a record 20 Masters titles, putting him one ahead of 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.Djokovic, who has been playing through grief since the death of his grandfather Thursday, said he felt emotionally drained and was unable to summon the mental strength he needed to dig deep against Nadal."I definitely don't want to take away anything from Rafa's win. He was a better player," Djokovic said. "But it's a fact that I just didn't have any emotional energy left in me."Djokovic's grandfather was buried back home in Serbia on Saturday."I've never been caught up in this kind of emotional situation before," Djokovic said. "I'm just happy to reach the finals really under the circumstances. It's been a very difficult week for me to go through mentally."He has not decided what his schedule will be over the next few days."I obviously have to go to visit my grandfather's grave and see, because I wasn't there (at the) funeral yesterday," he said. "So I'll be there."Nadal had promised to be aggressive and, after Djokovic held in his opening service game at love, the Spaniard was relentless in running the Serb all over the court."Fantastic, impressive. The way he's been treating this sport is a real example of a champion," Djokovic said of Nadal's eight straight wins at Monte Carlo. "I only have nice things to say about him. Every year he comes back and he looks like he's the first time in this place."Djokovic struggled to find a rhythm, making 25 unforced errors to just 11 winners. Nadal, meanwhile, timed most of his shots to perfection and pushed Djokovic further and further back."I think today he played just enough to win," Djokovic said. "I just wasn't there. You know, I didn't play well, play at all, you know. I just was out there trying to put the ball in the court."The breezy conditions seemed to bother Djokovic more than they did Nadal, although the swirling winds were not as intense as Saturday.Nadal, the 10-time Grand Slam champion, found his range quickly and broke Djokovic in the third game when the Serb's backhand sailed wide.In the second set, Nadal went up 3-0 after breaking Djokovic's serve then holding at love.That was soon 4-0 as Nadal won a long rally on break point. Djokovic looked to have won it with a big forehand, but Nadal somehow managed to lob Djokovic while fully stretched out. The ball landed right at the top of the court, surprising Djokovic, whose hurried return set up nicely for Nadal to whack another brutal forehand winner.Although Djokovic broke right back, any thought of a comeback was snuffed out by Nadal when he broke Djokovic at love.
Chuck Garfien, Charlie Roumeliotis and Mark Carman join Kap on a Friday edition of SportsTalk Live.
The stalemate continues between MLB owners and players. Will the two sides come to their sense? How close are we to the drop dead date to get a season started on time?
The NHL has a plan. The Blackhawks are a part of it. Do they have enough championship experience to go on a deep playoff run?
Later, Ken Rosenthal joins Kap to talk about the differences between baseball’s owners and players as they discuss how to start the season.
Meanwhile, the NBA is targeting a late July return. Would the Bulls be better off if they were not a part of the league’s restart plans?
0:00 - The MLB season is teetering on the brink. When will it be too late to start a season? And are the owners and players risking the death of the league if they can’t come to an agreement?
6:30 - The NHL has a restart plan and the Blackhawks will be a part of it. So can they go on a run?
9:00 - Ken Rosenthal join Kap to talk about the stalemate between the MLB owners and players.
19:00 - The NBA is looking to restart its season. Would the Bulls be better off not taking part?
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The NBA is expected to have a plan to resume its season approved by owners at a vote on Thursday, June 4, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
The NBA is planning a Thursday vote of the Board of Governors -- with an expectation that owners will approve Adam Silver’s recommendation on a format to re-start the season in Orlando, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 29, 2020
The news comes on the heels of a call with the Board of Governors Friday that yielded nothing definitive. Four potential formats for relaunching the season and a target date of July 31 to resume play were reportedly floated.
Sources: The NBA discussed four competition scenarios for restart with Board of Governors today:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 29, 2020
- 16 teams: Directly to playoffs
- 20: Group/stage play
- 22: Games to determine seeding, play-in tournament for final seed(s)
- 30: 72-game regular season, with play-in tourney
But the above report from Wojnarowski marks the most marked progress towards the league formally agreeing on a return-to-play plan to date.
Predictably, the precise details of the plan are not yet known. In conjunction with Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne, Wojnarowski reported that the plan is expected to feature invitations for “20-to-22” teams.
Owners are largely planning to pledge support for Silver's final recommedation on a plan, which teams expect to include invitations for 20-to-22 teams to resume the season, sources tell @ramonashelburne, @ZachLowe_NBA and me. https://t.co/8waxNm1Dpc— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 29, 2020
That would mean no invite for the Bulls — perhaps a blessing in disguise (or dressed plainly). The Bulls are currently paused with the 24th-best record in the NBA at 22-43, and are 8.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference.
Still, the team opened the Advocate Center Friday morning with clearance from both Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago officials. Players in the area will be permitted to undergo NBA-sanctioned treatments at the facility, an opportunity which Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn have already taken advantage of. Voluntary, socially-distanced, individual workouts may begin Wednesday when Chicago is expected to enter Phase 3 of its reopening. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley will be en route to the city soon.
The NBA suspended its season on March 11 after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. A resumption bid seems on the cusp of coming to fruition.