Nadal wins the third set 6-2 – and the match!
Kei Nishikori reached the second round by beating Tomas Berdych , , Nishikori, like Djokovic, needs time on court after only recently returning from a torn tendon in his right wrist. The Japanese player, ranked 36th, came back in late February when he lost to Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the Mexico Open.
Donaldson ranted at the chair umpire over a line call and then squared up to him as he continued to argue. The year-old American received a code violation. Ramos-Vinolas 1 6 14 R. Gasquet 6 4 Granollers 6 2 6 13 N. He saved two match points, but a poor unforced error gave Nadal a third match point and Ramos-Vinolas double-faulted.
Nadal tilted his head back and put both hands on his head as his achievement began to sink in, while his opponent buried his head into a towel.
Nadal's 70 titles are three better than Djokovic, who is a year younger. Nadal is fifth on the all-time list, but seven behind John McEnroe. Further ahead, the year-old Federer has 91; Ivan Lendl 94 and Jimmy Connors is a long way away with Nadal watched smiling as each of his Monte Carlo trophy presentations over the years was played on the big screen. The first photo, of him raising the trophy in as a distinctly shy year-old who was taking tennis by storm, made Nadal laugh.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to play in Monte Carlo. In Spain, Monte-Carlo is a very important event," Nadal said. The first title on clay makes a big difference.
After that, I was confident enough to keep going, winning in Barcelona, in Rome, then in Roland Garros. He won every year after that — including the next three finals against Federer, who could never crack him on clay. Djokovic is a great clay-court player. It could be this week, or next week — or even on grass. The last three times the Canadian played, from , he reached the quarterfinals. But on the American hard-court swing, he began to look like the old Raonic again.
While there has been no official announcement, it appears Goran Ivanisevic has been elected to the board of Milos Raonic Inc. Also with Raonic is physio Milan Amanovic, who was part of Team Djokovic during his dominant streak and left along with Vajda a year ago.
Amanovic had been with Raonic during his brief return to play last fall in Asia. This is only the second career appearance for the Japanese star in Monte Carlo. But he does have some clay bona fides. Nishikori has been stopped by Djokovic in Madrid and Rome too many times to count. But he has reached the final there. And he was a quarterfinalist a year ago at the French Open. Auger-Aliassime has been playing clay-court Challengers in Europe.
But he has not had much success. This is a major step up, and probably not a necessary one at this stage. But if a Masters tournament is going to give you a wild card, you take it.
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