By Rex Gowar
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal won his first title of the year with a 6-4 6-1 victory over Juan Monaco in a rain-interrupted Argentine Open final on Sunday.
Nadal, showing marked progress in his comeback from injury and other woes last year, notched his 65th career title and equaled Guillermo Vilas’s 46 on clay with the Argentine great watching from the stands.
“I had the hope of winning here and I prepared very well for this so it’s objective achieved,” the Spaniard, upset in the Rio Open semi-finals a week ago, told a courtside interviewer.
The world number four, nine-times French Open champion, got the first break in the seventh game after a finely weighted chip that landed well out of Monaco’s reach put him 30-15 up and took it when the Argentine netted a service return.
Nadal wrapped up the rain-interrupted set in 45 minutes. It had stood at 1-1 after 14 minutes when the players had to come off court for nearly an hour before play could resume.
He was too good for the 2007 tournament winner and former world number 10, who is also looking to regain his best form after a lean spell, breaking serve three more times for a comfortable victory in one hour and 26 minutes.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)