Gasquet and Monfils make Monte Carlo progress


Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils demonstrated French flair to move into the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Monday.

Gasquet was sidelined at the start of this year due to a back injury, but the world number 10 has already claimed one title in Montpellier since returning to the court.

The elegant ninth seed had too much for Nicolas Almagro on the clay at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, seeing off the Spaniard 6-4 6-0 in just an 68 minutes on Court Rainier III.

Monfils was a semi-finalist in this tournament last year and the flamboyant 13th seed got himself out of a mess in the first set to beat Gilles Muller 7-5 6-0 as he targets another long run this week.

Milos Raonic was also a winner on a day which all seven seeds in action advanced to the second round, with bigger challenges to come. 



Gasquet and Monfils are two of the more entertaining players to watch on the circuit and the French duo were a cut above their opponents in the second set, with bagels sending Almagro and Muller packing. Monfils had to battle back from 5-2 down in the first set, winning 11 games in a row to dump Muller out. 



Raonic has made an impressive start to the year, winning the Brisbane International before being advancing to the semi-finals of the Australian Open as well as being runner-up at Indian Wells. The world number 12 got past Marco Cecchinato in his first match of the year on clay with a 6-3 7-5 victory.

Tenth seed Raonic racked up 13 aces in his first meeting with wildcard Cecchinato, who failed to break the Canadian.



Eighteen-year-old duo Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev started the action on Rainier III and it was the German who came out on top. The promising Zverev, who had a match point against Rafael Nadal before losing to the 14-time grand-slam champion in the fourth round at Indian Wells, got the better of wildcard Rublev 6-1 6-3 to set up a match against David Ferrer.