Nadal begins Monte-Carlo Masters title defence with victory over Bautista Agut

Nadal begins Monte-Carlo Masters title defence with victory over Bautista Agut”

The 32-year-old had expressed pre-tournament caution regarding the health of his knee - a worry which appeared to be groundless after a 76-minute masterclass.

"It has been a very positive start. After all the things that happened here to me, every time that I have the chance to be back here is great feelings and just trying to enjoy every one".

Nadal collected the opening five games of the afternoon in 17 minutes as he set the tone for another dominant display in the principality.

Seven points in a row gave Bautista Agut three opportunities to cancel out Nadal's swift break, but the second seed wrestled back control and it was largely plain sailing from there as he forced his compatriot to drop serve twice more en route to a resounding victory.

"It was a great start, it s good to be back here", the 17-time Grand Slam victor said, keeping talk of his knee to a minimum. Nadal has not lost a match at this venue since 2015. Eleven times the champion in Monte Carlo, he also will be going for title No. 12 in Barcelona next week and title No. 12 in the French Open at Roland-Garros next month - numbers that hardly seem possible, especially when said out loud. "The result says that". Philipp beat me in Indian Wells.

Fourth seed Thiem won with a break in the final game after Klizan held a 40-0 lead.

The world No. 3, who reached the semifinals past year, converted six of seven break points to book his place in the third round.

That may be starting to change.

"It was a great start, it's good to be back here", Nadal, the 17-times Grand Slam victor, said.

I had some good practice after Miami and I am doing well, I am just practising to be ready for my first match here. "Hopefully I can play slightly better in the next round, because if I want to go deep in the tournament, I definitely have to up my game". Is this the best that I have played on clay? No.

He will meet Italy's Fabio Fognini, whose opponent Gilles Simon retired before their match had begun.

The German promising star was joined by other seeded players such as Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas in round of 16.

"I need to maintain my focus, my concentration, my aggressive mindset when I'm on the court", Tsitsipas said.

"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 not the first time Dimitrov has done it on court.

The world number one was relieved to avoid defeat in his first match of the clay season.

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