Rafael Nadal makes short work of Aljaz Bedene in Monte Carlo opener
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.”
Andy Murray set for Rotterdam second-round clash with world No 8 Andrey Rublev
Murray and Rublev’s only other meeting was in 2017.
Novak Djokovic unlikely to return to action before clay season as there ‘is no need to take any risks’
Novak Djokovic unlikely to feature at the Miami Open.
Tennis Top 10
Top 10 oldest No 1 ATP players: Novak Djokovic now the second oldest No 1, but will he catch Roger Federer?
Roger Federer currently holds the record.
Goran Ivanisevic slams media for ‘thrashing’ Novak Djokovic, rating 2021 Australian Open as his ‘sweetest’
Goran Ivanisevic takes aim at the media.
Ashleigh Barty pulls out of Dubai tournament, but hopes to defend Miami Open title
Ashleigh Barty won’t be travelling to the Middle East.
Roger Federer to skip Miami Open as he opts to ‘slowly work his way back’ following injury
Roger Federer won’t feature at the Miami Open.
‘I’m playing for my career’ – Honest Andy Murray admits retirement question is lingering
Andy Murray fought back to beat Robin Haase in Rotterdam.
Andy Murray hits back to win first round match against Robin Haase in Rotterdam
The former world No 1 finished strongly.
Battling Andy Murray shows his old fighting spirit to beat Robin Haase in Rotterdam
Andy Murray fought back from a set down.
Daniil Medvedev closing in on career milestone as he returns to action this week
Daniil Medvedev hits the top two in ATP Rankings.