After a four year wait and a grueling, almost three-hour match, Rafael Nadal managed this Sunday to snatch back the Monte Carlo Open crown he had laid claim to eight years in a row on previous occasions.

In a game of scintillating tennis, Nadal beat Gael Monfils, the crowd-favorite, 7-5, 5-7, 6-0, gaining his 28th Masters title overall, at par now with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Nadal had not won any tournament since beating Fabio Fongnini in Hamburg last August, so this victory was pretty special for the Spaniard.

It was a test of nerves as the two players battled it out on the clay court – and the contrast between their styles was clearly visible. Nadal displayed desperate determination with the characteristic grimacing that his fans are familiar with, his eyes a mirror of the mind ticking like a machine, and Monfils, like an open book, clearly showing nervousness as well as physical and mental exhaustion.

With 34 breakpoints, one nearly every five minutes, the match, in Nadal’s words was “unbelievably tough, and it was a relief, for the spectators as well as the players when it finally ended with the better man coming out on top.