Djokovic, Nadal: Convincing Start At Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters

Novak Djokovic (photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour)

MONTE-CARLO/STARNBERG, April 14, 2021 (Press Release)

The top two seeds of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters were in action on Wednesday and easily advanced into third round after a most convincing start. World No. 1 and two-time former champion Novak Djokovic claimed a 6-4, 6-2 victory in one hour and 34 minutes against rising star Italian Jannik Sinner  in a battle of generations at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. 

In his first appearance since his ninth Australian Open title run in February, Djokovic kept Sinner off balance with frequent drop shots and extracted errors with great defensive skill from the baseline.

“It feels great to be back and 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 [and] a big challenge for me. Jannik is in form. He played the final in 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.”

Djokovic, who is chasing his third Monte-Carlo crown this year, will face Daniel Evans in the third round. The British No.1 broke recent Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz of Poland on four occasions to clinch a 6-4, 6-1 win on Court des Princes.

Nadal eases past Delbonis

World No. 3 Rafael Nadal got off to a perfect start at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, where he seeks a record-extending 12th trophy. The Spanish superstar looked in strong form in a comprehensive 6-1, 6-2 victory over Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis over 81 minutes. In his first match since the Australian Open, the 34-year-old Nadal struck 16 winners to beat Delbonis.

“It was solid match, I think. Of course, a very positive result. He’s a good player on clay. It was a positive start for me,” Nadal said. “I think I just really played a solid match. Nothing unbelievable, but nothing wrong. Just a solid match, a positive start. I think I did what I had to do today.”

On Thursday, Nadal will next play Monte-Carlo resident and No.14 seed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who saved six of seven break points in a 7-6(3), 6-4 victory over French veteran Jeremy Chardy in one hour and 42 minutes.

The surprise of the day came from Casper Ruud. The 22-year-old Norwegian earned his second Top 10 victory after he defeated World No. 9 and last year’s semi-finalist at Roland Garros Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6-3, 6-3 in 65 minutes.

Other seeds in action also made it into the third round: defending champion Fabio Fognini of Italy beat Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-3, 6-3,  Germany’s Alexander Zverev edged out Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-3, Russia’s Andrey Rublev eased past Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso 6-3, 6-2 and Belgian David Goffin secured a 6-4, 6-0 victory over qualifier Marco Cecchinato of Italy.