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Nadal delighted with start of bid to win 12th title


Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

By Robert Jones

Defending champion Rafael Nadal opened his bid for a 12th Monte-Carlo Masters title by cruising past Roberto Bautista Agut.

Nadal won 6-1 6-1 to claim victory at the opening ATP Masters 1000 event of the European clay season.

"This is just the first match. It has been a very positive start," Nadal said.

"The result says that. And the feeling on court, too, I just started well. It's the first match in almost a year on this surface. But, of course, a start like this helps."

He will face Grigor Dimitrov next after the former Australian Open semi-finalist beat Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 (2) 6-4.

Dimitrov will be aiming to reach his second quarter-final of the year after reaching the last eight at the Brisbane International in January.

Britain's Cameron Norrie beat Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (3) 6-3 and will play Lorenzo Sonego in the third round.

Dominic Thiem beat Martin Klizan 6-1 6-4, Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori 7-5 6-4 and Dusan Lajovic overcame David Goffin 6-3 6-4.

Fabio Fognini progressed after a walkover victory against Giles Simon while Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime beat world number three Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-4.

Taylor Fritz overcame Diego Schwartzman 6-4 6-2 and Daniil Medvedev eased past Radu Albot 6-1 6-2. Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 7-5.

Jamie Murray - brother of Andy - and Bruno Soares reached the quarter-finals of the men's doubles, defeating Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Ivan Dodig 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 10-8.

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