- Associated Press - Sunday, April 22, 2012

MONACO — Rafael Nadal finally managed to beat Novak Djokovic in a final, breezing 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday to win the Monte Carlo Masters for the eighth straight year and end a run of seven defeats to his rival in title matches.

Nadal hardly was troubled by the world’s top-ranked player in this one and broke his serve five times 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.

Nadal thrust his hands in the air after clinching the victory in style with an ace that flew past the beleaguered Djokovic, who beat Nadal in an epic Australian Open final this year.

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.


Serena sweeps as U.S. advances in Fed Cup

KHARKIV, Ukraine — Serena Williams defeated Lesia Tsurenko 6-3, 6-2 to send the United States back into the Fed Cup World Group by clinching a series victory over Ukraine.

Williams‘ win gave the U.S. an unassailable 3-0 lead. Christina McHale later won 7-5, 6-3 against Elina Svitolina, 17, to secure a sweep of the singles matches.

Williams was making her first Fed Cup appearance on foreign soil in more than a decade to become eligible for the U.S. team at the London Olympics.

“We’re back in the World Group where we want to be and it feels really good to get two points,” she said.

In other Fed Cup matches: