Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters: Djokovic through, as Berdych, Tsonga progress

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By Telema Davies

The principality of Monaco came alive on Saturday for one of global tennis’ big occasion – the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The coastline tourist city, reputed for its hosting of a Formula One Grand Prix series, is home to a tennis series.  As one of tennis’ oldest events, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters has its usual suspects on parade in the championship. Given the result so far in the course of the tournament, some of the tournament’s big name participants advance.

Winner of the 2013 edition, Novak Djokovic, made good strides to advance to the next round of the Monte-Carlo Masters. He opened his title defence at the Masters in emphatic style on Tuesday, as he blitzed past Spain’s Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-0. The Serb made light work of Montanes in just 45 minutes of play to progress to the third round, decisively. “For the first match on clay, it was great,” Djokovic said on the Monte Carlo Masters website.

“I lost only one game, so there were not too many flaws in my game that I could recall. On the other side, I’ve had an opponent who is a specialist on this surface, but he hasn’t played even close to his highest level. He was making a lot of unforced errors.” Djokovic stated further, “I was just trying to use the court well, not allow him to get into a rhythm. I was changing the angles. I was coming to the net, being aggressive. Just very good first match.”

Fifth seed Tomas Berdych rounded out the day’s action with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Dmitry Tursunov. Berdych rallied from a breakdown in both sets before claiming victory in one hour and 41 minutes. Berdych has by his personal best, had a good start to his play this season having reached the semi-finals or better in four of six tournaments. The Czech has reached the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo twice prior to this year’s edition, losing to tournament record holder, Rafael Nadal in 2007 and Djokovic in 2012.

Meanwhile, French No. 1 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was made to work hard for his place in the third round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, as he battled Philipp Kohlschreiber to post 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 triumph in just under two hours. Tsonga broke in the final game of the match to clinch victory, having hit 19 winners to 39 unforced errors and won 76 percent of first serve points. It was the Frenchman’s sixth win in a row over Kohlschreiber, whom he leads 7-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head.

The 28-year-old Tsonga was a semi-finalist at this ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament last year, losing to Nadal and seven weeks later went on to reach the semi-finals at Roland Garros, losing out to Spain’s David Ferrer. Sixth seed David Ferrer, on his part, enjoyed an easier time of it, dismissing France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-0 in 65 minutes. He lost to Nadal in the final in 2011.  

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