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By Chris Oddo | Wednesday April 18, 2018


Rafael Nadal laid down the early gauntlet at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on Wednesday, rolling over Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene, 6-1, 6-3 to book his place in the round of 16.

More: Djokovic Needs 10 Match Points to Get By Feisty Coric

“Playing on a court where I had a lot of success in the past always gives a little of extra confidence,” Nadal told the ATP after his triumph. “But at the same time every year is a different story.”

The ten-time champion improves to 64-4 at the event and will face Russia’s Karen Khachanov in the round of 16 on Thursday. Nadal owns a 2-0 lifetime record against the Russian and has won all five sets they’ve contested.

“Tough one,” Nadal said of the impending matchup. “He already had two good victories and today against Simon [he had] a great victory so it’s going to be a very tough one. I need to be ready to play a very high intensity and a very high level of tennis if I want to have success.”

Nadal saved both break points he faced over the 78-minute encounter with Bedene and he converted four of his eight break points.

Nadal says he is aware of the confidence he gets at Monte-Carlo, but also cognizant of the fact that he has not made it through an ATP event this season. That’s first and foremost on Nadal’s mind at the moment.

“I have been outside of the competition almost for five months—I played Australia but nothing else—and since Shanghai I did not finish one event," Nadal said. "So it’s a very important [event] for me, it’s important to start with the victory, that helps, and I’m going to try to keep going.”

 

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