Madrid Open: Rafael Nadal gets back to winning ways with victory over Juan Monaco


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Rafael Nadal took the first step towards easing his clay-court jitters with a thumping victory over Juan Monaco at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Nadal arrived in the Spanish capital with greater doubts over his clay dominance than at any time since he was a teenager after quarter-final losses in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

He was far from convincing to start with against Monaco but the Argentinian could find nothing to hurt Nadal and the world number one ran out a 6-1 6-0 winner.

Nadal was very happy with his performance, saying: "I think I moved better and played well. I was dominating over the points and playing very well. I think I've done positive things."

In the third round Nadal will face Finn Jarkko Nieminen, who defeated qualifier Igor Sijsling 6-3 6-2.

Sixth seed Tomas Berdych maintained his winning hold over Kevin Anderson with a 6-1 6-4 victory against the South African.

Remarkably it was their 11th meeting in just over two years, all of which have been won by Berdych.

The Czech next meets 12th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who was given a very tough time by wild card Marius Copil before coming through 4-6 6-3 7-6 (9/7).

Ninth seed John Isner was also involved in a long three-setter, squeezing past Marinko Matosevic 7-6 (11/9) 6-7 (5/7) 7-5.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's struggles continued as he lost 6-4 6-3 to Colombia's Santiago Giraldo, who next plays seventh seed Andy Murray.

Spaniard Feliciano Lopez upset 15th seed Mikhail Youzhny while there were also wins for Ernests Gulbis, Marin Cilic and Lukasz Kubot.

In the women's event, top seed and defending champion Serena Williams eased to a 6-2 6-3 victory over Peng Shuai despite heavy strapping on her left thigh.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska had a much tougher time in reaching the third round.

The Pole had to save three match points when she trailed 3-6 in a deciding tie-break against Svetlana Kuznetsova before recovering to win 6-3 4-6 7-6 (8/6).

Fourth seed Simona Halep saw off Laura Arruabarrena 6-4 6-4 and next faces Sabine Lisicki but Caroline Wozniacki is out after a knee injury hampered her in a 6-3 6-3 loss to Roberta Vinci.

Home favourite Carla Suarez Navarro set up a meeting with Williams by beating Alison Riske while Frenchwoman Caroline Garca is through to round three without completing a match.

Her first-round opponent Angelique Kerber withdrew midway through their match while Maria Kirilenko did not even take to the court for Wednesday's clash because of a wrist injury.