Playing on his favoured clay in front of a boisterous home crowd at Seville’s Olympic Stadium, the world number two clubbed 27 winners, 20 of them on his fearsome forehand, as the 26th-ranked Monaco was dismissed with brutal ease.
Nadal has never lost a Davis Cup singles rubber on clay and took his record on the red dust to 15-0 as Spain seek to add to their four titles against an Argentina side they upset to win the Cup in Mar del Plata in 2008.
Spanish world number five David Ferrer, who is unbeaten in 11 clay singles matches, takes on number 11 Juan Martin Del Potro in Friday’s second singles rubber, with the doubles to be played on Saturday and the reverse singles on Sunday.
Monaco, who did not muster a single break point on the Nadal serve, gave the heavily outnumbered but vocal Argentine support little to cheer about on an unusually damp Seville afternoon.
He made a slightly better fist of things in the third set but Nadal seemed to crush his spirit in the fifth game after an incredible rally that had both players scrambling all over the court and brought even Spanish King Juan Carlos to his feet.
The point, which left Monaco with a bloodied left knee, secured Nadal his sixth break of the Argentine’s serve and he broke again for a 5-2 lead before serving out the match to love.