Nadal cruises, Nishikori stumbles in Monte Carlo

Reuters

On a day when all 10 singles matches were decided in straight sets, no one made it look easier than No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal on Wednesday at the Monte Carlo Masters at Monaco.

The Spaniard smashed countryman Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-1 in 76 minutes, advancing to the round of 16 as he seeks his 12th title here.

"I was able to move well and be confident with the things that I did. I'm happy for this positive start," said Nadal, who withdrew from last month's semifinals in Indian Wells, Calif., with a knee injury. "Every victory brings a positive energy, confidence in the game, confidence in the body."

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Nadal owns an 11-1 record against Thursday's opponent, Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, including a 6-4, 6-1 win in the semifinals in Monaco last year.

Dimitrov advanced with a 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory against Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff.

The biggest upset Wednesday was Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert's 7-5, 6-4 win against fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan.

"This was a very nice victory," said Herbert, who saved all 10 break points he faced. "Probably one of the nicest on clay and probably one of the nicest of my career, so I am really excited about it."

Herbert will face ninth-seeded Borna Coric of Croatia for a berth in the quarterfinals.

" has spent lots of time on clay, so it's going to be a big challenge tomorrow for me," Herbert said. "Again, I'm not going to be the favorite, of course. But on my side, I also won two difficult matches -- so why not?"

No. 16 David Goffin of Belgium was the only other seeded player to fall Wednesday, losing 6-3, 6-4 to Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.

No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany beat Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-1, 6-4. No. 4 Dominic Thiem of Austria defeated Slovakia's Martin Klizan 6-1, 6-4. No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece topped Mikhail Kukushkin of Kasakhstan 6-3, 7-5. No. 10 Daniil Medvedev of Russia whipped Radu Albot of Moldova 6-1, 6-2.

Italy's Fabio Fognini, the No. 13 seed, advanced when France's Gilles Simon withdrew with a back injury.

American Taylor Fritz eliminated Argentina's Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 and Britain's Cameron Norrie took care of Hungary's Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (3), 6-3.

--Field Level Media

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