Rafael Nadal storms into Round 3 at Monte Carlo Masters
Eight-times winner Rafael Nadal safely made it through to the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters third round with a straight-sets victory over Russian qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili on Wednesday
Monte-Carlo: Eight-times winner Rafael Nadal safely made it through to the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters third round with a straight-sets victory over Russian qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili on Wednesday.
Rafael Nadal of Spain is shocked to see his opponent, Teymuraz Gabashvili's racquet fly to his side of the court at Monte Carlo. Pic:AP/PTI
The 27-year-old world number one claimed a 6-4 6-1 triumph in an hour and 12 minutes to move above American Brian Gottfried (679) into 12th place on the all-time wins list.
The top seed, who won here 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, and told atpworldtour.com: "I'm a bit surprised how well it went. Then again, it's hard to serve through the opponent.
"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 seeing off Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain 7-6 (8/6) 6-4 in one hour and 44 minutes.
Also on Wednesday, 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 advance.