Stefanos Tsitsipas showed his clay cruising past 2021 breakout star Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the third round at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The Greek is now 18-5 on the season.
“I knew I had to face a difficult opponent today,” Tsitsipas said. “I managed to push him back and attack with my forehand. Things worked out pretty well for me.
“My clay court experience helps a lot to come back each year stronger, knowing that I have done better before. It was a very beautiful game out there and I enjoyed it.”
In the other big match of the day, Cristian Garin overcame an early break hole from yesterday to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(3), 6-1. The 20-year-old Canadian was making his debut with Toni Nadal in his box but could continue the success he had before the Monday rain stopped the match.
“The conditions were different because yesterday was a rainy day,” Auger-Aliassime said. “The ball was not bouncing so high. The conditions were slower. It was different. I can’t say it was better or worse. Today was good for me, too. I was happy to see the sunshine and more normal conditions.
“I had some chances, some opportunities. It’s never easy to come back in a match at 30-All in the middle of a game. But I was able to win that game, and I had the opportunity of winning the set. I didn’t do it. It was a frustrating match for me.”
Roberto Bautista Agut, Pabla Carreno Busta, Grigor Dimitrov and Miami winner Hubert Hurkacz also advanced. 2019 finalist Dusan Lajovic was bounced by Dan Evans.
It was a mixed day for Italians who finished 5-3. Fabio Fognini opened his title defense with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Miomir Kecmanovic. But Italy’s No. 1 Matteo Berrettini was upset by young Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5, 6-3.
Salvatore Caruso, Marco Cecchinato, Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner were also winners. Sinner upended former Monte Carlo finalist Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3, 6-4.
Sinner’s win put him in a huge showdown Wednesday against World No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
“I remember we were here in Monaco, Monte Carlo,” Sinner said of his first hit with Djokovic. “I practice with him. Now I don’t remember exactly the year, but I was definitely younger. We were playing in two because I was a small kid, a little kid.
“I will definitely have a game plan,” Sinner added. “I know who is on the other side. Obviously it’s a tough match I think from my side, because I don’t know him that well. Seen him a lot on TV, watching matches. But when you play against [him] in a match, it’s different. I’m looking forward to that match.
“It’s a good test for my side to see where I am, especially where I can improve. I know where I can improve, but this kind of match can give me a lot. I just try to go there with the right mentality like in every match.”
Also on Wednesday, 11-time champion Rafael Nadal opens up against Federico Delbonis; Alexander Zverev battles Sonego and Andrey Rublev meets Caruso.
WEDNESDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
Court Rainier III Starts At 11:00 Am
R32 6 Andrey Rublev v (Q) Salvatore Caruso
R32 1 Novak Djokovic v Jannik Sinner
R32 (Q) Federico Delbonis v 3 Rafael Nadal
R32 Lorenzo Sonego v 5 Alexander Zverev
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