Djokovic and Murray reach 3rd round at Monte Carlo

Third-seeded Novak Djokovic and No. 4 Andy Murray both won in straight sets to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

updated: April 14, 2009 16:24 IST
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Third-seeded Novak Djokovic and No. 4 Andy Murray both won in straight sets on Tuesday to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic was rarely troubled in a 6-1, 6-2 win against Oscar Hernandez of Spain, while Murray began slowly before easing past Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 6-2 to stay on course for a first career quarter-final on clay.

Djokovic, who reached the French Open semifinals last year, next faces either Jean-Rene Lisnard or Albert Montanes and said he was surprised at how well he played in his first clay-court match of the season.

"I didn't quite expect to perform that good, considering the fact that I didn't have any matches, singles matches, on this surface," Djokovic said. "But I was really playing aggressive and patient at the same time. This combination is really important for this surface. So hopefully I can continue."

Murray twice dropped serve early to trail 2-1 in the opening set, but the British player took the next four games for a commanding lead.

"At the start of the match when I got broken, I was sort of moving like I was still on a hard court," Murray said. "And then after four, five, six games, I started to move better."

He broke Hanescu, a French Open quarterfinalist in 2005, in the seventh game of the second set to take a 5-2 lead, and then converted his fourth match point when the Romanian hit a forehand return into the net.

Murray, who lost to Roger Federer in the U.S. Open final last year, next takes on the winner between the 14th-seeded Marin Cilic and Fabio Fognini of Italy. If he wins that, he will reach a clay-court quarterfinal for the first time in his career.

"It takes time, I never played that well on clay especially in the last couple of years," Murray said. "I played solid and he made some mistakes. I was happy with the way I played for my first match on clay this year."

Also in the second round, sixth-seeded Gilles Simon lost 7-5, 6-1 to Andreas Beck of Germany.

Simon, who twice beat Federer last year, said the loss to a qualifier was the worst he could recall.

"I don't remember ever playing so badly. Nothing was right. Nothing was working. My forehand, my backhand, my serve, nothing," Simon said. "I played so bad today that I couldn't have beaten anyone."

In first-round matches, the 10th-seeded David Ferrer beat Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-3 in an all-Spanish meeting; No. 12 David Nalbandian of Argentina beat Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, and Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia upset ninth-seeded Gael Monfils of France 6-3, 6-1.

Montanes, Lisnard and Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina also reached the second round.

Lisnard, who now represents Monaco, advanced 6-2, 6-2 against Christophe Rochus; Montanes beat the 16th-seeded Nicolas Almagro 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (5) in an all-Spanish match; and Vassallo Arguello topped Igor Andreev 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2.

Monfils, who pushed Federer to four sets in the semifinals at Roland Garros last year, struggled badly on second serve and was broken five times by Tipsarevic.

The Serb will meet Simone Bolelli of Italy in the second round.

Fognini won 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic to set up a second-round match against the 14th-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia.

In later first-round matches, Lleyton Hewitt took on Marat Safin in a match between two-time Grand Slam champions and former top-ranked players.