Nadal nails opening European clay win in Monte Carlo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nadal nails opening European clay win in Monte Carlo

Posted: Apr 16, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Rafael Nadal sprang back to classic clay-court form as the eight-time winner at the Monte Carlo Masters dealt out a 6-2, 6-1 opening victory against Frenchman Lucas Pouille on Wednesday to reach the third round.

The comprehensive win in 68 minutes was pedestrian by the standards of the king of clay, who is searching for renewed confidence after winning only one minor title since the French Open nearly a year ago.

Nadal never faced a break point while breaking his wild card opponent three times.

Nadal lifted his last trophy in the principality in 2012; he has been training on clay for a fortnight trying to regain his touch after a poor American hard court swing in March.

The 28-year-old Spaniard won the Monte Carlo title every year from 2005-12, but fell to Novak Djokovic in the 2013 final, a loss which ended an 81-match winning streak on clay in the month of April as well as 46 consecutive wins in Monaco.

He went down in the quarter-finals a year ago to compatriot David Ferrer and now stands 51-3 at the tournament where he first got a wildcard as a raw teenager in 2003.

Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych reached the last 16 with a defeat of Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 7-6 (7-2).

Holder Stan Wawrinka made quick work of Argentine Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-4 as the Swiss seventh seed began the defence of his first Masters 1000 title.

Spanish 12th seed Roberto Bautista Agut put out German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) while Spain’s 16th seed Tommy Robredo hammered compatriot Marcel Granollers 6-1, 6-1.