Djokovic and Nadal cruise into the round of 16 in Monte Carlo.

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Novak Djokovic and defending champion Rafel Nadal both eased into the last 16 of the Monte Carlo Masters after kicking off their clay court campaigns with straight-set wins on Wednesday. Top seed Djokovic, who is yet to win the ATP 1000 Masters event, encountered few concerns in his opening match as he overcame unranked Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-4 in the second round. Seven-time defending champion Nadal then followed Djokovic on court to register a 6-4 6-3 triumph over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen.

Kicking off his title challenge, Djokovic raced into a 4-0 lead after 19 minutes before Seppi avoided an opening set bagel with a gutsy hold in the sixth game. The Serb broke in the third game of the second set and with Seppi unable to make any impression against serve, closed out the match in 89 minutes. Awaiting Djokovic in round three is Alexandr Dolgopolov after the Ukrainian 16th seed overcame Monte Carlo-based Bernard Tomic 6-2 5-7 6-1.

‘King of Clay’ Nadal extended his remarkable winning streak at Monte Carlo Country Club to 38 matches with a typically-assured win over unseeded Nieminen. The Spaniard belied any pre-tournament injury fears with a commanding display which ensures he remains undefeated against fellow left-handers on clay. Next up for Nadal will be a third round meeting with Mikhail Kukushkin, a 7-6 (10/8) 2-6 6-3 victor over Italy’s Filippo Volandri.

Also on Wednesday, number seven seed seed Janko Tipsarevic raced past Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-2 6-3 and two home players also progressed. Gilles Simon powered past Portugal’s Frederico Gil 6-3 6-0, while Andy Murray’s third round opponent has been confirmed as Julien Benneteau after he recorded an impressive 6-4 6-3 (9/7) success over Austrian 15th seed Jurgen Melzer.


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