Originally written on Tennis Grand Stand  |  Last updated 11/20/14

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a forehand in his first round match against Peter Luczak of Australia during day one of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 18, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
By Maud Watson Breakthrough Having already won the title seven consecutive times, an eighth Monte Carlo crown for Nadal would have seemed more of a given than a breakthrough. As he ended a seven-match skid against rival Djokovic, however, his victory took on added importance. Nadal played flawless tennis all week, served better than he has in recent memory, and perhaps best of all (and not surprisingly), we saw no evidence of knee problems during his play. Suffice it to say, Nadal is firing on all his legendary clay court cylinders, and it will take something special to derail him on the dirt. But the extent of his breakthrough against Djokovic is difficult to measure and dependent on a couple of factors. First and foremost is how much belief Nadal takes from the victory. He justifiably should be proud of last week’s performance, but he also knows his opponent was playing well below the level that had earned him seven straight victories over the Spaniard. The second factor is Dj...
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