World number one Novak Djokovic began his quest for a fourth Madrid Open title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Gael Monfils on Tuesday, improving his unbeaten record to 18-0 against the Frenchman.
The result ensures Djokovic remains at the top of the rankings while it earned Monfils the ignominy of having the worst record against a single opponent without winning in the Open era, Reuters reported.
Djokovic first played Monfils at the U.S. Open in 2005 but Tuesday’s match was only their second encounter on clay and he needed only one break point to clinch the first set.
Monfils did entertain the crowd with a few shots worthy of the highlights reel, including a ‘tweener’ that had even Djokovic applauding along with the fans, the news agency further reported. But the top seed was well in control of proceedings, breaking twice in the second set before serving for the match to advance to the third round where he will meet Andy Murray.
Murray claimed his second clay victory in five years with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 win over Canada’s Denis Shapovalov, who fought back in the second set to force a decider but was crushed once again by the Scot in the third set.
Earlier, Andrey Rublev, who won the Serbia Open last month after beating Djokovic in the final, survived an early scare when he fought back from a set down to edge Britain’s 20-year-old Jack Draper 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina, who beat Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza in the earlier rounds, knocked out a third Grand Slam champion in ninth seed Emma Raducanu to move into the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory.
Raducanu was broken to love in the opening game of the match and she quickly found herself 3-1 down as Kalinina fired forehand and backhand winners past the Briton, who struggled to find answers to her power from the baseline.