Rafael Nadal prepared for the Australian Open in ideal style as he survived a second set loss to beat Gael Monfils and win the Qatar Open title for the first time.
Nadal rattled off the first set in twenty-three minutes as he took it 6-1, but went 3-0 down in the second as Monfils played some of his best tennis to fight back from being blown away.
Nadal managed to pin him back by replicating his first set form, but Monfils held firm and won the set in a tie break. However, the Spaniard wasn't affected by that loss and cruised the final set 6-2 to pick up his 61st career title.
Nadal said in his post-match press conference: "Every victory is important and the title today means a lot to me. It is the first time in my career that I am able to start the season with a victory. That's always important."
Andy Murray had already crashed out in the earlier rounds of the tournament against Florian Mayer, losing 6-3 4-6 2-6. Murray appeared to still be struggling with the injuries that plagued the back end of his 2013 season.
"I am stiff and sore but that's to be expected. It's more the joints rather than muscles. I have to get used to changing direction and playing at this level again," Nadal said.
"I didn't have high expectations because I have not had many matches. I was playing well and moving well at the beginning. I lost two matches but got through without any niggles or injuries."
Monfils had played very well in the build up to the final, but looked visibly shocked by the power of Nadal's tennis in the first set and, despite bringing the game back, never got going again and an error which put Nadal 3-1 up in the final set proved the final nail in the coffin for the Frenchman.
He said afterwards: "Rafa put pressure on me from the first point. He was very aggressive from the first game and it was tougher for me to adjust."
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