Monte Carlo Masters: Wins for Djokovic and Nadal after return
Men's singles tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal made a smooth return to the court after the Australian Open 2021. Djokovic and Nadal won their respective second round matches to progress at the Monte Carlo Masters. Serbia's world number one Djokovic beat Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-2. Nadal tasted success against world number 87 Federico Delbonis, winning 6-1, 6-2. Here's more.
Djokovic said he is satisfied after a tough draw against Sinner. "I have to be satisfied considering I think I had a tough draw for the first round, playing Sinner, who is in form, who is striking the ball very well," he said. "I knew it was going to be a challenge. I walked into the court with the right intensity, right focus."
18-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic will take on Dan Evans next, who ousted Hubert Hurkacz, Sinner's Miami conqueror, for a place in the quarter-finals. Dan Evans beat Hurkacz 6-4, 6-1.
Nadal is in the hunt for his 12th Monte Carlo Masters title ahead of his pursuit of a 14th French Open crown at Roland Garros next month. If he wins the Ronaldo Garros title, it will be his record 21st Grand Slam. Nadal, who lost in the quarters of the Australian Open 2021, had to miss several events with a lingering back problem.
"It was a good start, always good to come back to competition with a victory," said the 34-year-old. "I think I played a solid match and I hope to keep going."
Fifth seed Alexander Zverev eased past Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-3. Miami Open semi-finalist Andrey Rublev made short work of Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, winning 6-3, 6-2. Italy's Fabio Fognini, the 2019 champion, defeated Australia's Jordan Thompson 6-3, 6-3 to also reach the last 16. The tournament was not held last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.