Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer rushed into the third round at the ATP Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday, with both posting quick opening victories.
Top seed Nadal, champion at eight of the last nine editions, spent 72 minutes in smothering any upset hopes of Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili, who got off to a shock 3-1 lead before Spain’s king of clay reeled him in for a 6-4, 6-1 success.
Nadal will now line up against Andreas Seppi after the Italian defeated Pablo Andujar 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4.
Federer, seeded fourth at a Masters 1000 event that he has never won, delivered a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing to fellow veteran Radek Stepanek. Federer’s rout in 52 minutes was seven minutes longer than another easy victory by holder Novak Djokovic a day earlier.
“I was able to get a lot of returns back into play,” said Federer. “On clay, when you have the upper hand from the baseline, it’s kind of hard to get out of it.
“I think that’s how it was for Radek today. I had a good start to both sets, then I was solid on my own service games.
“The next thing you know, you’re in the lead and you can hit freely. It was clearly a good match to start my claycourt campaign.”
The Swiss will next face off for a quarterfinal spot on Thursday when he takes on Lukas Rosol.
Federer improved to 14-2 over Stepanek, 35, whose last victory in the series came in Rome six years ago.
The results: Second round: Stanislas Wawrinka bt Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-2; Grigor Dimitrov bt Albert Ramos 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Nicolas Almagro bt Nicolas Mahut 7-6(3), 6-3.
Roger Federer bt Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-2; Milos Raonic bt Yen Lu-Hsun 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1; Fabio Fognini bt Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(6), 6-4; Lukas Rosol bt Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4; Tommy Robredo bt Julien Benneteau 4-6, 6-0, 6-1; Andreas Seppi bt Pablo Andujar 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4; Rafael Nadal bt Teimuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-1.