Monte Carlo Masters 2019: Rafael Nadal storms into round of 16; Alexander Zverev tames teenage senstation Felix Auger-Aliassime


Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal charged out of the blocks Wednesday to hammer Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-1 in his opening match on the Monte Carlo Masters.

Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts throughout his second spherical match in opposition to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut. Reuters

The 11-time champion confirmed no signal of the knee issues which compelled him to give up forward of an Indian Wells semi-final in opposition to Roger Federer a month in the past. The 32-year-old had expressed pre-tournament warning relating to the well being of his knee — a fear which gave the impression to be groundless after a 76-minute masterclass.

“I’m happy for this very positive start. I had good feelings on court,” he mentioned.

Nadal collected the opening 5 video games of the afternoon in 17 minutes as he set the tone for an additional dominant show within the principality.

He was equally in management in the course of the second set, the place he saved three break factors within the fourth sport and two extra within the sixth.

“It was a great start, it’s good to be back here,” the 17-time Grand Slam winner mentioned, retaining discuss of his knee to a minimal.

“I can’t pretend to not have pain at all, but professionals normally play with pain. It’s part of the sport at the highest level and it’s no limitations at all. I was able to move well and be confident with the things that I did,” Nadal mentioned.

Bautista Agut has now misplaced to his Spanish countryman in all three of their conferences, whereas Nadal improved his unbelievable file right here to 69-Four as he takes intention at a fourth consecutive title on the occasion.

“This is just the first match and it’s been a very positive start. The results say that,” Nadal mentioned.

Roland Garros finalist Dominic Thiem, who misplaced to Nadal in Paris final June, beat Slovakia’s Martin Klizan 6-1, 6-4.

Thiem, who received the Indian Wells title over Federer, made a profitable change to his favorite floor as he prepares for the pre-French Open sequence of occasions.

Fourth seed Thiem received with a break within the last sport after Klizan held a 40-Zero lead.

Upbeat Zverev

Alexander Zverev rediscovered traces of his finest type with a 6-1, 6-Four defeat of Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime. The German, domestically primarily based, reached the third spherical as he tamed the 18-year-old who broke by for a Miami semi-final final month.

The 21-year-old Zverev performed the semi-finals in Monte Carlo a 12 months in the past however has but to hit his stride this season. That could also be beginning to change. “This is the first time this season I’ve felt really healthy,” mentioned Zverev, who misplaced prematurely at each Indian Wells and Miami, in addition to in Marrakech final week.

“I’ve been training well but haven’t been able to take that into matches. I live just 500 metres from here, I’m comfortable on this court. I’m starting to feel better about my game. I’m really ready for the clay season,” he added.

Zverev swept the opening set in 30 minutes however needed to get by a sequence of three straight breaks of serve between him and his opponent earlier than lastly advancing in 78 minutes.

The third seed will subsequent face Italy’s Fabio Fognini, who reached the third spherical when French opponent Gilles Simon withdrew due to again issues.

Greek sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas moved forward, defeating Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 7-5.

“I need to maintain my focus, my concentration, my aggressive mindset when I’m on the court. If all these are combined, then I have nothing to fear and I have nothing to be afraid of when I’m on the court. This is the first big clay court tournament, not everyone is very well prepared for that. It’s been a long hardcourt court season before the clay,” Tsitsipas mentioned.

Britain’s Cameron Norrie defeated Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, whereas Pierre-Hugues Herbert shocked 2018 finalist and fifth seed Kei Nishikori 7-5, 6-4.

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