ATP Tour

Nadal starts well in Monte Carlo

2015-04-15 14:34
Rafael Nadal (AFP)

Monte Carlo - Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal and holder Stan Wawrinka both expressed quiet relief at getting back to clay after opening wins 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.

Switzerland's Wawrinka kicked off his week with a 6-1, 6-4 defeat of Argentine Juan Monaco to progress to the third round.

The Swiss was also glad to get some red dirt in his socks after an indifferent last few months.

"I'm happy to change, to come on clay again. The conditions are great here, so I'm happy with the first match.

"Since I wasn't playing well in practice, I consider this match as a good one. There were ups and downs, but that's normal for a first match.

"I'm satisfied with my level physically and mentally. I was able to be aggressive.

"It's been really difficult over the last two months (Marseille quarter-final and second and third-round defeats in the US)."

The seventh seed, who lifted his first elite Masters 1000 title in Monaco a year ago as he beat compatriot Roger Federer for the title, spent 71 minutes in getting past Monaco.

Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open winner, will next face ninth seed Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4.

The Swiss comes onto the spring clay with a 17-4 match record and titles in Chennai and Rotterdam.

The 30-year-old successfully defended a title for the first time in January, winning Chennai for the second year in a row.

Spanish 16th seed Tommy Robredo crushed compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-1 6-1 in an early match played under the first clouds of the week.

Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) while Spanish 12th seed Roberto Bautista Agut defeated German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

Second seed Federer was facing Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

Results on the fourth day of the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday (x denotes seeded player):

Second round
Stan Wawrinka (SUI x7) bt Juan Monaco (ARG) 6-1, 6-4
Tommy Robredo (ESP x16) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-1, 6-1
Rafael Nadal (ESP x3) bt Lucas Pouille (FRA) 6-2, 6-1
Tomas Berdych (CZE x6) bt Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2)
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x12) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x9) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA) 6-3, 6-4
Gilles Simon (FRA x10) bt Benoit Paire (FRA) 6-4, 7-5
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Jeremy Chardy (FRA) 6-2, 6-1
Milos Raonic (CAN x4) bt Joao Sousa (POR) 6-3, 7-6 (7/4)
John Isner (USA x15) bt Viktor Troicki (SRB) 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/5)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x11) bt David Goffin (BEL) 6-3, 6-4


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