Monte Carlo Masters: Tomas Berdych, Alexander Zverev enter second round
Ninth seed Tomas Berdych and 14th seed Alexander Zverev progressed into the second round of the 2017 Monte Carlo Masters at the Principality of Monaco on Monday although they had contrasting routes to their respective victories. German teenager Zverev needed only 1 hour 8 minutes to dismiss the Italian veteran Andreas Seppi, 6-1, 6-2 while Berdych came back from a set down to edge Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Only three breaks of serve, one in each set, decided the outcome of the Berdych-Kuznetsov match. However, the Czech’s poor conversion rate of break point opportunities – 2/11 (18%) was what stretched this first round encounter.
Other seeds entering the second round comfortably are the 15th seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas and 16th seeded Pablo Cuevas.
The latter dropped just three games in a dominating one-sided 6-3, 6-0 triumph over Serbia’s World No. 38 Viktor Troicki. Ramos-Vinolas notched up an effortless 6-2, 6-3 win over the 93rd ranked Argentinian qualifier Renzo Olivo.
A couple of seeded Spaniards had to grind it out on the gruelling red dirt. 12th seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, who began the season with the Chennai Open title, was blown away 1-6 by the 59th ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first set. The World No. 18 did manage to survive the Georgian’s onslaught for a 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 win in 2 hours 6 minutes.
Bautista Agut’s countryman, the 13th seeded Pablo Carreno Busta had an equally torrid outing but was able to eke out a narrow 7-6(0), 6(4)-7, 6-3 win over the ever-dangerous Fabio Fognini.
Edmund to meet Rafa
Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal now knows who he will be meeting in his opener as he begins his Triple ‘La Decima’ quest on Wednesday. World No. 45 Kyle Edmund won the all-British face-off with Dan Evans 7-5, 6-1 and is now set to take on Nadal.
The King of Clay is seeking a staggering 10th crown at each of the Monte Carlo Masters, the ATP Barcelona and the French Open.
Djokovic earns win in doubles
Meanwhile, World No. 2 Novak Djokovic had a win at the Monte Carlo Masters, but in doubles. He and his compatriot Troicki teamed up to beat the French-Luxembourg pair of Gilles Simon and Gilles Muller, 7-5, 6-3.
Interestingly, the two-time Monte Carlo champion will be facing Simon again as he starts his singles campaign on Tuesday.