Rafael Nadal safely made it through to the Monte Carlo Masters third round with a straight-sets victory over the Russian qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvilion Wednesday.
The top seed, who won this tournament every year from 2005 to 2012 and was beaten by Novak Djokovic in last year’s final, was trailing to Gabashvili before coming back to take the first set 6-4 and comfortably saw out the second to advance to the third round.
Earlier, Roger Federer marked his return to the tournament – his first appearance since 2011, via a wild card – as he saw off Czech Radek Stepanek 6-1 6-2 in just under an hour.
The three-times finalist here admitted he was surprised with his easy progress.”I’m a bit surprised how well it went. Then again, it’s hard to serve through the opponent,” he said. “I was able to get a lot of returns back into play.”
On clay, when you have the upper hand from the baseline, it’s kind of hard to get out of it.
“I think that’s kind of how it was for Radek today. I had a good start to both sets, then I was solid on my own service games. The next thing you know, you’re in the lead and you can hit freely. It was clearly a good match to start my clay-court campaign.”
Italian Fabio Fognini set up a third-round clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after beating Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in one hour and 44 minutes.Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic defeated French qualifier Michael Llodra 6-4 6-4 in just over an hour, and Canadian eighth seed Milos Raonic beat Yen-Hsun Lu 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-1 to go through.