Nadal and Djokovic seal Monte Carlo progression
There were wins for two giants of tennis at the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday, as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic progressed to the third round.
While Nadal was comfortable in seeing off Aljaz Bedene, Djokovic required 10 match points to finally put his match with Borna Coric to bed.
The pair remain on course to meet in the quarter-finals, facing Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem respectively in the next round.
Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, meanwhile, were among the day's biggest casualties in the principality.
FLYING START FOR NADAL
Nadal kicked off his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title by breezing to a 6-1 6-3 win against world number 58 Bedene.
The Spaniard has only ever lost four matches in this event, winning 10 of the 11 finals in which he has taken part.
And the world number one sent an ominous warning to his rivals for glory in Monaco with a straightforward win on Wednesday.
Two breaks of serve were enough to wrap up the opening set and, while Bedene put up more of a fight in the second, Nadal simply had too much for his Slovenian opponent.
DJOKOVIC WINS THROUGH... EVENTUALLY
Djokovic put on another promising performance against a battling Coric after claiming to have played without pain for the first time in two years when he saw off Dusan Lajovic in round one.
That victory was his first since the Australian Open and he followed it up with a 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 win over Coric that sets up a tricky clash with fifth seed Thiem.
Djokovic, who recruited former coach Marian Vajda last week, looked sharp with stoic defence and his forehand firing on Court Rainier III, and kept his composure even as Coric kept the contest alive by repeatedly saving match points.
STRUFF OF NIGHTMARES FOR FOGNINI
Jan-Lennard Struff pulled off the biggest upset of the day, beating Fognini 6-4 6-2, while 10th seed Schwartzman lost 6-2 6-1 to Richard Gasquet.
Ramos-Vinolas lost in straight sets to Philipp Kohlschreiber, but Marin Cilic, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori all safely secured their progression to the next round.