Djokovic off to blistering start in Monte Carlo

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Rafael Nadal and Aljaz Bedene meet in the second round of the 2018 tennis Monte Carlo Masters.

Any doubts about Nadal's physical condition were cast aside, however, when he won both his matches for Spain in last weekend's Davis Cup quarter-final against Germany. It should be a high quality encounter between two players who though not now at their best, have deservedly spent most of their careers in the top ten and have the ability to match. "I had some good days of practice here, playing some good sets", Nadal said ahead of the start of the claycourt season.

"That helps me. I love this event".

Concerning his health and spontaneity in the game as he's about to return fully to action, he said: "I feel good", he said. He also doesn't much enjoy the clay, with his best effort at Monte Carlo being two quarterfinals. That year he went on to win the first of 10 Barcelona titles, the first of seven Rome Masters and the first of 10 French Opens.

Djokovic has claimed the Monte Carlo Masters title twice (2015 and 2013), and Ćorić, against Benneteau, celebrated his first win at this tournament.

Novak Djokovic started his clay-court tennis season in style on Monday at the Monte Carlo Masters, as he hammered fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic 6-0, 6-1.

Carreno-Busta has been inconsistent this year, while Pouille's data on clay in the last 12 months falls into the solid but unspectacular (108.6% combined hold/break percentage), so the obvious choice in this bottom half of the draw looks like Cilic.

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The 30-year-old dropped just eight points during the first set as he dominated against his compatriot, and it was a similar story in the second.

He added: "The intervention was done right, and I came back already after five weeks on the court from the moment I had the surgery". "I missed him. I have a feeling that he missed me or tennis or both". He has not played since the Australian Open back in January.

The 12-time grand slam champion, with coach Marian Vajda back in his corner after his recent split with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek, eased to a 6-0 6-1 win in only 56 minutes on a glorious Monday in the Principality.

Beene can hang around in this match if he can continue to get his first serves in play, but that doesn't mean I'm predicting an upset.

World number 51 Jared Donaldson confronted an umpire after disagreeing with a call made in his first-round defeat by last-year's finalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The downturn for Djokovic, who less than two years ago could not be beaten on the men's tour, is in large part due to an elbow problem that does not seem to have fully healed, and off-court distractions he has not detailed publicly.