On a drama-less day at the Monte Carlo Masters where 13 of the 14 matches finished in straight sets, tournament favorites Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic cruised into the third round.
Playing in their first matches since Melbourne, Nadal blasted past Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-2 while Djokovic was in full control in a 6-4, 6-2 win over teen Jannik Sinner.
Djokovic is now 10-0 on the year after his first meeting with the talented Italian.
“It feels great also playing in Monaco, where I reside,” said Djokovic. “I have used this club as a training base for almost 15 years, so it feels like playing at home.
“It was a very good encounter. I thought it was a great first match, a big challenge for me. Jannik is in form. He played the final Miami and has been playing well. I just hung in there today and managed to find the right shots and the right game at the right time.”
Nadal opened his bid for a 12th Monte Carlo title dropping just three games to the Argentine to improve to 72-5 at the event.
“It was solid match,” said Nadal. “Of course, a very positive result. He’s a good player on clay.
“Nothing unbelievable, but nothing wrong. Just a solid match, a positive start. I think I did what I had to do today.”
Alexander Zverev began his clay campaign ousting an in-form Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-3. Andrey Rublev rolled past Salvatore Caruso 6-3, 6-2 and Grigor Dimitrov, Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta were also winners.
There were some upsets. Youngster Casper Ruud collected a great 6-3, 6-3 victory over Diego Schwartzman and Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz fell to Dan Evans 6-4, 6-1.
Evans will now face Djokovic tomorrow. Also on Thursday, Nadal returns to meet Dimitrov, Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Cristian Garin and Rublev battles Bautista Agut.
“We’ve had some great matches,” said Nadal of Dimitrov. “He’s a good friend, a good guy, and a great player. It’s going to be a tough test in my second round. It’s going to be his third. I need to be ready for it. I hope to be ready for it. I am just excited to play a tough match very early in the tournament.”
THURSDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
Court Rainier III Starts At 11:00 Am
R16 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas v 16 Cristian Garin
R16 1 Novak Djokovic v Daniel Evans
R16 14 Grigor Dimitrov v 3 Rafael Nadal
R16 6 Andrey Rublev v 9 Roberto Bautista Agut
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