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By Ajay Tyagi
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For the last seven years, Nadal and Monte Carlo Masters have become synonymous with each other. The Spaniard is the only player in the history of this tournament, who has won this Masters Event seven times in a row. Nadal likes to burn out his opponents in long rallies and pace his attack by complimenting it with exquisite court-coverage that allows him to hit the winners – with so much authority on both sides of the court.
10 time major champion Rafael Nadal opened the season on a great note and reached his second final at the Australian Open, eventually finishing runner up to defending champion Novak Djokovic. This was Nadal's seventh consecutive final loss to Djokovic. Nadal, who has a record 19 masters series titles to his resume, last won an event in the same category in April 2011 at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters.
His opponent today - Kukushkin is ranked 68th in the world and has 3-4 win loss record. He has an ATP World Tour title to his name, which he won in 2010 in St. Petersburg.
Both players have met once at 2010 Bangkok, where Nadal won 6-2, 6-3. Here also Nadal is a crushing favourite in the duel.
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