ATP Qatar Open: Rafa Nadal beat Gael Monfils in three sets for a 61st career win
Last Updated: 04/01/14 11:05pm
Rafa Nadal: Up to eighth in the all-time list of ATP career titles
Rafael Nadal defeated France's Gael Monfils 6-1 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 to win the Qatar Open in Doha.
The world No 1's victory saw his career tally rise to 61 titles, taking him past Andre Agassi into eighth on the all-time list.
Monfils had only beaten the Spaniard twice in 11 previous meetings, coincidentally in Doha on both occasions in 2009 and 2012, but was unable to make it number three.
The Frenchman had responded in impressive style to force a decider by edging a tense tie-break after a one-sided first set.
But Nadal, who finished with 13 aces and 36 winners, stepped up a gear in the third to close out his first title at the event in a little under two hours.
"I never had the chance to win here before. I had match points against Davydenko in the final a few years back," said Nadal, who was runner-up to Russia's Nikolay Davydenko in 2010.
"I'm happy to start the season like this, it's the first time I have won a title in the first week of the year.
"It's a great way to start the season. I'm sure that if Gael keeps playing like this, he will be close to the top 10."
Monfils said: "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."