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Nadal, Djokovic cruise, Murray crashes

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Originally published on: 15/04/10 11:44

Jeu, set, et match Nadal.” It must have been a warm feeling for the Spaniard to hear those words at the end of a comprehensive victory on his return to clay in 2010.

The defending Monte Carlo Rolex Masters champion, chasing a record sixth title, steamrolled promising Dutch prospect Thiemo de Bakker 6-1 6-0, finishing one minute short of an hour and looked at home on the red stuff after a bittersweet spring hard-court season.

“I expected it to be a bit tougher,” admitted Nadal, who is now unbeaten in 28 matches in Monte Carlo. His last loss came to Guillermo Coria in 2003. “I played well, I played a very solid match. No mistakes. This tournament is one of my favorites.”

Up next for the No.2 seed is Michael Berrer, after the German scored a minor upset with a 6-4 6-4 victory over No.14 seed Juan Monaco.

Top seed Novak Djokovicshowed no ill signs of his recent split with co-coach Todd Martin as he cruised to a 6-2 6-3 victory against Florent Serra.

The Serb, who has reverted to working solely with long-time coach Marian Vajda after Martin’s efforts to develop his serve and volleying game coincided with a dip in form, dropped serve once in each set and faced nine break points.

“There were some moments in the match that were a little bit difficult for me,” he said. “Some things can be better, like serve and maybe some movement.”

“The worst thing you can do is to think about a bunch of different things technically,” he added after admitting he was reverting to his old serving technique, “because then you come to the stage where you don’t really know what to do.”

Andy Murray was jeered from the court after losing 6-2 6-1 to Philipp Kohlschreiber. The Australian Open finalist dropped serve five times and failed to bring up a single break point of his own in an alarmingly flat display.

“I just couldn’t find the court. When it’s like that, it’s kind of difficult to play,” said Murray, who lost his opening match in Miami in straight sets to Mardy Fish.

“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.

“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.”

Next up for Kohlschreiber is compatriot Philipp Petzschner, who beat Jurgen Melzer of Austria 7-6(4) 6-2.

Wednesday was a good day for the Spaniards. Albert Montanes beat Andreas Seppi 7-6(1) 3-6 6-0, while The Juan Carlos Ferrero did not face a break point in his 6-3 6-4 win over Benjamin Becker. David Ferrer topped Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-3 6-2, and Tommy Robredo beat Viktor Troicki of Serbia 6-4 6-3.

In one of the day’s most entertaining matches, Mikhail Youzhny failed to convert a one-set lead against David Nalbandian, who hit back to post a 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) victory.

Stanislas Wawrinka made light work of Latvian loose cannon Ernests Gulbis 6-1 6-4 to set up a meeting with Djokovic in the next round.

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