World No. 1 Andy Murray led an all-star cast into the third round at the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday, including No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 4 Rafael Nadal.
Murray was a 7-5, 7-5 winner over Gilles Muller, while Wawrinka and Nadal struggled. The Swiss beat Czech Jiri Vesely 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, while the Spaniard beat Brit Kyle Edmund in an uneven 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 meeting.
“I definitely played better as the match went on,” said Murray, who hadn’t played in over a month due to a right elbow injury. “Obviously, the first service game was not ideal. But when you are coming back from not really serving for a few weeks, it’s, I think, normal. Maybe [my] technique changed a little bit. You get into the match, and it’s tricky.”
Wawrinka put a positive spin on winning in three.
“Winning in three sets means it was a good victory,” he said. “I prepared well. Physically I’m fine, so we’ll see what I can do…I know my level is good. If I’m able to improve, I might have a chance in this tournament.”
Other Top 10-seeded winners were No. 5 Marin Cilic rolling over French wildcard Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-0, No. 6 Dominic Thiem handling Dutchman Robin Haase 6-3, 6-2, and No. 9 Tomas Berdych coming from a set down to defeat Tommy Haas 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Two upsets were handed out when German qualifier Jan-Lennard Struff ousted No. 8 seed Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, and Argentine Diego Schwartzman sent No. 12 Roberto Bautista Agut home 6-3, 7-6(3).
Highlights of Thursday play in Monte Carlo are (1) Murray vs. (15) Albert Ramos-Vinolas, (3) Wawrinka vs. (16) Pablo Cuevas, (4) Nadal vs. (14) Alexander Zverev, (2) Djokovic vs. (13) Pablo Carreno Busta, (5) Cilic vs. (9) Berdych, and (6) Thiem vs. (10) David Goffin.
Nadal is 2-0 against Zverev, defeating the German in five sets in January at the Australian Open.
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