Juan Monaco of Argentina returns the ball to Rafael Nadal of Spain during the ATP Argentina Open final tennis match in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, March 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
Victor R. Caivano
March 01, 2015

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Rafael Nadal lifted his first title in nearly nine months Sunday after defeating Juan Monaco 6-4, 6-1 at the Argentina Open.

The top-seeded Spaniard hadn't reached a final since winning at Roland Garros last year.

It was Nadal's 46th title on clay, moving him within three of the record set by Argentine Guillermo Vilas when he played in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Nadal broke Monaco's serve late in the first set to take a 1-0 lead against the 60th-ranked Argentine, then dominated the second to close out the match in 1 hour, 26 minutes.

Rain delayed and interrupted the match in Buenos Aires.

Nadal, who had to deal with injuries in recent months, now has 65 singles titles.

Vilas, ranked No. 2 in the world in 1975, won a total of 62 singles titles. The 62-year-old former player was at the final in Buenos Aires on Sunday.

The fourth-ranked Nadal was coming off elimination in the semifinal of the Rio Open. It was his first title in Argentina, where he hadn't played since 2005.

It is the seventh consecutive year that Nadal has won the Argentina Open.

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