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Tennis:Grand Slam winning trio ease into Masters third round

Grand Slam winning trio Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka all looked in sublime form as they progressed to the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters with straight set victories on Wednesday. Top seed Nadal, champion at eight of the last nine editions, spent 72 minutes in beating Russian qualifier Teimuraz Gabashvili, who held a shock 3-1 lead early on, 6-4, 6-1. Federer, seeded fourth at a Masters event that he has never won, looked in top shape as he romped to a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing of talented Czech veteran Radek Stepanek in 52 minutes.

Tennis: Federer delivers crushing victory over Stepanek

Roger Federer delivered a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing to fellow veteran Radek Stepanek as the fourth seed powered through his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday. The Swiss, who has never won the title at the seaside Monte Carlo Country Club, will next face off for a quarter-final spot on Thursday when he takes on Lukas Rosol. The Czech booked his spot over Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-4, 6-4. Federer's rout in 52 minutes was seven minutes longer than another easy victory by holder Novak Djokovic a day earlier.

Tennis: Federer delivers crushing victory over Stepanek

Roger Federer delivered a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing to fellow veteran Radek Stepanek as the fourth seed powered through his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday. Federer's rout in 52 minutes was seven minutes longer than another easy victory by holder Novak Djokovic a day earlier. "I was able to get a lot of returns back into play," said Federer. "On clay, when you have the upper hand from the baseline, it's kind of hard to get out of it.

Tennis: Djokovic thumps Montanes in Monte Carlo

Novak Djokovic stormed into the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters as the defending champion won his 11th straight match of the season 6-1, 6-0 over Albert Montanes on Tuesday. The second seed is bidding for a trophy at his fifth straight Masters 1000 after ending last season as winner at Shanghai and Paris before sweeping Indian Wells and Miami last month. He won the last 11 games in a row, finishing in 45 minutes and improving to 17-2 on the season.

Tennis: Federer back as Nadal seeks ninth Monte Carlo title

Roger Federer returns to the Monte Carlo Masters starting on Sunday with a mission to try and topple king of clay Rafael Nadal as the Spaniard seeks an unprecedented ninth title in the principality. Federer, his season taking flight and his ranking back to a more-than-respectable world number four, last competed at the optional Masters in 2011, when he was shuttled out in a quarter-final surprise by Austrian Jurgen Melzer.

Tennis: Claycourt titles factfile

Claycourt title factfiles ahead of the Monte Carlo Masters which begins on Sunday: Rafael Nadal Career titles: 62 Career clay titles: 43 Roger Federer Career titles: 78 Career clay titles: 10 Novak Djokovic Career titles: 43 Career clay titles: 8 Andy Murray Career titles: 28 Career clay titles: 0 Note: Murray not playing in Monte Carlo afp

Tennis: Nadal still king in claycourt game of thrones

It's not quite mission impossible, but the first shots in the battle to dethrone Rafael Nadal as French Open champion are about to be fired in the upmarket surrounds of the Monte Carlo Country Club. These skirmishes follow a similar pattern each year. Nadal will usually win at least three claycourt tour events in the European spring, surviving the odd scare, on his way to another familiar Sunday afternoon of crowning glory on the crushed red brick surface of Roland Garros.

Tennis: Gasquet back in top ten as Nadal stays No 1

Frenchman Richard Gasquet broke back into the top ten of the ATP rankings released on Monday while there were no other changes in the top 20 after Davis Cup competition dominated the weekend. Gasquet, a former Wimbledon and US Open semi-finalist, swops places with big serving Canadian Milos Raonic who drops to number 11.

Nadal impatient for return to favored clay courts

MADRID (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal is eager to get back to his favored clay after what he called a "good but not fantastic" start to the year with two titles and two runners-up spots, the world number one said on Wednesday. Spaniard Nadal, 27, won on the hard courts in Doha at the start of the season before a back injury wrecked his chances in the Australian Open final at the end of January.

Tennis: Nadal hopes to fine tune form ahead of clay swing

Rafael Nadal says he still has work to do on his game as he gets set to launch his claycourt season which the Spaniard hopes culminates with his ninth French Open title. World number one Nadal lost in straight sets in the final of the Miami Masters tournament on Sunday to second seed Novak Djokovic. Djokovic cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win as he easily dismantled Nadal who has been hampered by a back injury which wrecked his Australian Open bid earlier this year.
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