Rafael Nadal makes short work of Aljaz Bedene in Monte Carlo opener

ATP Tour

Rafael Nadal needed just 79 minutes to cruise to victory against Aljaz Bedene in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Masters.

The number one seed, who is bidding to win the clay tournament for an 11th time and a third year in succession, has not played on the tour since he retired with a hip injury in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January.

But after two Davis Cup victories for Nadal for Spain last weekend, the world number one eased to a 6-1 6-3 victory against the Slovenian.

“It was a positive start,” said Nadal. “That’s all. It’s important for me to win matches, of course. I need days on court.

“Since Shanghai last year, I have spent not enough time on court competing. Every match that I have the chance to win is a great news, because it [helps my] confidence and is a chance to play another day. That’s what I need.”

Nadal will now face Karen Khachanov in the next round after the Russian overpowered France’s Gilles Simon 6-2 6-2. It’s an opponent that the 31-year-old is not taking lightly.

“(Karen) is a tough opponent, of course,” added Nadal. “No doubt about that. He’s a player that serves big and has big shots from the baseline.

“I need to play aggressive. I can’t let him play in comfortable positions because then it will be impossible. I know it’s going to be an important test for me.”

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