Monte Carlo Masters 2019: Rafael Nadal Cruises to Dominant Win in Wednesday Play

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistApril 17, 2019

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 17: Rafael Nadal of Spain waves to the crowd after his straight set victory against Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in their second round match during day four of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters at Monte-Carlo Country Club on April 17, 2019 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal started his clay-court campaign in dominant fashion on Wednesday, beating compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Nadal came into the match as the unquestioned king of the tournament, putting together some incredible statistics, including 11 overall titles:

He continued that dominance in his first match, as Agut didn't record his first winner until the second set.

Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in a battle of young talents, Stefano Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev set up the next chapter of their rivalry and Taylor Fritz continued his stellar play, earning himself a date with Novak Djokovic.

Here are some of Wednesday's key results:

(2) Rafael Nadal beat Roberto Bautista Agut: 6-1, 6-1

(3) Alexander Zverev beat (wc) Felix Auger-Aliassime: 6-1, 6-4

(6) Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Mikhail Kukushkin: 6-3, 7-5

Pierre-Hugues Herbert beat (5) Kei Nishikori: 7-5, 6-4

(10) Daniil Medvedev beat Radu Albot: 6-1, 6-2

For the complete results, visit the ATP's official website. The updated schedule can be found here.

      

Nadal was every bit as dominant in his first clay outing of the season as expected, winning his 69th match in Monte Carlo and only giving his compatriot Agut two games along the way.

Agut didn't even play poorly, but the 32-year-old was untouchable in the rallies, making absurd shots like this one:

Nadal did an excellent job limiting mistakes and looks remarkably sharp this early in the tournament. He's the clear favourite to add yet another title to his resume, especially given the struggles of Djokovic against Philipp Kohlschreiber on Tuesday.

Wednesday's action was all about the young guns, including Fritz, Djokovic's next opponent.

The 21-year-old American scored an upset win over Diego Schwartzman, a clay specialist, and has taken well to the slow dirt of Monte Carlo. He could give the top-seeded Serb a real test.

Third-seed Zverev had little trouble against rising star Auger-Aliassime, who never got into a groove and made far too many errors to hang with the German.

Per tennis writer Jose Morgado, the 21-year-old Zverev was in need of a good result:

After his tremendous 2018 season, Zverev has yet to find his best form this year.

Tsitsipas and Medvedev both won their outings on Wednesday, setting up another grudge match fans won't want to miss.

Tennis writer Ben Rothenberg reminded everyone to set their alarms:

Contests between the two have been wild, emotional affairs since the Russian had a meltdown over toilet breaks during last year's Miami Open and accused his opponent of calling him a "bulls--t Russian."

Medvedev has won all three matches between the two, but Tsitsipas is one of the ATP's fastest rising stars, beating the likes of Roger Federer and Gael Monfils since their last meeting.  

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