Murray, Nadal Advance At Monte Carlo
Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal advanced at the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday as the draw held true to form for the most part. The two joined Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka in the round-of-16 of the Masters 1000 event.
Murray showed signs of rust after his five-week layoff but overcame a slow start and Gilles Muller to advance 7-5, 7-5.
The Brit had not competed since March after an elbow injury forced him away from the game. The world no. 1 struggled out of the gate with a series of double faults giving Muller an early break. The veteran from Luxembourg positioned himself to serve for the opening set, but Murray would battle back to take the advantage.
The rust was still on display in the second set as Murray lost his serve once more. But he would fight through his less than par play and at times did show some signs of the player who captured the world’s top spot last year. However, there is clearly work to be done to fully return to that level.
Murray spoke to Sky Sports and said, “It was a tough first match, I started the match pretty slow, I obviously wasn't serving that well at the start. I haven't been in the best rhythm on serve because I only started serving at full speed four or five days ago. I knew it would take a bit of time but I wasn't expecting to start serving like that.”
He will face Albert Ramos-Vinolas next.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal had his own battle against Kyle Edmund but held off a charge to advance 6-0, 5-7, 6-3.
Nadal was sharp to begin rolling in the first set but the aggressive Brit struck hard in the second set behind scorching forehands.
The match tightened up in the third set as both attacked their opponents serve to create three consecutive breaks of serve. But it was the Spaniard who gained control late in the set to seal the victory.
The King of Clay is in search of his 10th Monte Carlo Masters title but will have to get by Alexander Zverev next in a rematch of an epic five-setter at the Australian Open where Nadal advanced.
Other victors on Wednesday include Tomas Berdych, Dominic Thiem, and Marin Cilic. Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov was upset by J-L Struff of Germany in three sets.