Tennis: Nadal, Djokovic easily through in Monte Carlo
AP Sports Writer
MONACO — Rafael Nadal breezed past Thiemo de Bakker 6-1, 6-0 Wednesday to win his 28th straight match at the Monte Carlo Masters, while top-seeded Novak Djokovic also won in straight sets to advance to the third round.
The second-seeded Nadal has won five straight titles at Monte Carlo, where he hasn't lost since a third-round exit to Guillermo Coria in 2003. He'll play Michael Berrer next, after the German beat 14th-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-4, 6-4.
"I expected it to be a bit tougher. I played well, I played a very solid match. No mistakes," Nadal said. "This tournament is one of my favorites."
Australian Open finalist Andy Murray lost 6-2, 6-1 to Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, dropping serve five times and failing to earn a single breakpoint chance.
"I just couldn't find the court. When it's like that, it's kind of difficult to play," Murray said. "I tried a few different things. I tried serve and volleying a couple of times, I tried hitting some high balls. Didn't make a whole lot of difference."
Murray has lost his last two opening matches in straight sets, following his defeat to Mardy Fish in the second round at the Sony Ericsson Open last month.
"The last two tournaments have been bad. It's been a long time since I lost a couple of matches like this," Murray said. "I have to make sure that I don't panic."
Djokovic beat Florent Serra of France 6-2, 6-3 in his first clay-court match of the season. He faced nine break points and lost his serve once in each set, but still managed to win on his first match point when Serra's backhand return bounced out.
"There were some moments in the match that were a little bit difficult for me," Djokovic said. "Some things can be better, like (my) serve and maybe some movement."
Djokovic recently split with Todd Martin after hiring him to work in tandem with longtime coach Marian Vajda. Martin had been working with Djokovic on his serve, but the Serb is now trying to go back to his old way of serving.
"It's very confusing. It's complicated," Djokovic said. "The worst thing you can do is to think about a bunch of different things technically because then you come to the stage where you don't really know what to do."
Djokovic will 13th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka, whom he has beaten seven out of the nine times they've played each other. Still, Djokovic expects a difficult match.
"We had so many long matches, especially the one we had here last year — three sets in the semi," Djokovic said. "I wouldn't be surprised if we go the distance again."
Two-time former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, No. 11 David Ferrer of Spain, No. 12 Tommy Robredo of Spain and Wawrinka also advanced in straight sets.
The ninth-seeded Ferrero, the Monte Carlo champion in 2002 and '03, did not face a break point in his 6-3, 6-4 win over Germany's Benjamin Becker. Ferrer topped Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2, Robredo beat Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-4, 6-3; and Wawrinka beat Latvia's Ernests Gulbis 6-1, 6-4.
Philipp Petzschner of Germany beat 15th-seeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-6 (4), 6-2, and Spain's Albert Montanes beat Andreas Seppi of Italy 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-0.
Later, third-seeded Andy Murray played Philipp Kohlschreiber.