Millennium Post

Nadal makes winning start on Monte Carlo clay

Nadal makes winning start on Monte Carlo clay
Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal expressed quiet relief at getting back to clay after opening win on Wednesday at the Monte Carlo Masters. For third seed Nadal, his 6-2, 6-1 second-round victory against French wild card Lucas Pouille came as a huge relief after a poor season and just one small South American trophy to hand since winning a ninth Roland Garros title last May.

“I’m glad to be back here and playing on clay,” said the troubled Spaniard who improved his record at the seaside Country Club to 51 wins and just three losses as he moved into the third round. Nadal never faced a break point while breaking his wild card opponent three times. Nadal spent 68 minutes in proving that he will not roll over on his preferred surface even after a month of poor hardcourt results and a general lack of confidence after his ranking fell to fifth. Nadal has not won in Monte Carlo since 2012, going out in the 2013 final to Novak Djokovic and losing in the quarters a year ago to countryman David Ferrer.

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka kicked off his title defence with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over  Argentine Juan Monaco to progress to the third round. The seventh seed who lifted his first elite Masters 1000 title here a year ago as he beat compatriot Roger Federer for the title, spent 71 minutes in getting past Monaco.

“I played well, and I’m pleased to be back on clay.It’s nice to be defending a title and starting it out like this,” said the winner, who broke five times from 14 chances. Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open winner, will await an opponent from ninth seed Grigor Dimitrov and Italian Fabio Fognini.

Bopanna-Mergea lose
Indo-Romanian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea went down in the men’s doubles opening round to wildcard French-Swiss combine of Benoit Paire and Stan Wawrinka. Bopanna and Mergea gave a tough fight but eventually went down 6-7 (6), 6-4, 10-7. After sharing the first two sets following some intense battle, the wildcard pair easily edged ahead to take the super tie-break and then the match.


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