Novak Djokovic ends slide, opens clay-court season flawlessly at Monte Carlo

Novak Djokovic- Novak Djokovic hits back at reports of acrimonious split with Andre Agassi after crushing defeat of Dusan Lajovic

Then I felt great practising in Acapulco, playing very well, but then just the day before. I'm lacking matches and a bit of confidence on court.

But with Federer once again skipping the claycourt season, former US Open victor Cilic believes becoming the world's best player is a realistic goal after an excellent start to the year.

Lajovic, ranked 93 in the world, offered resistance in the second set to level at 1-1 but failed to capitalise on a break point as the 12-time grand slam victor roared back to book a second round meeting with Borna Coric of Croatia.

Four consecutive holds opened the second set though Khachanov was having it his way during his service games, with Kokkinakis not being able to find answers to the Russian's consistent play.

BC-TEN-Monte Carlo Masters-Donaldson's Rant, 210Angry Donaldson rants at umpire at Monte Carlo MastersJared Donaldson ranted at the chair umpire over a line call during his 6-3, 6-3 loss to Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

"I had injuries in my life, as you know, more than what I expected, but the good thing is that when I came back I was not afraid about what was going on".

Over the course of the near one-hour match, Djokovic kept compatriot Lajovic guessing with his disguised forehand drop-shots and powerful down-the-line backhands that brought rapturous applause from the crowd at the show court.

In 15 meetings on the surface, the 20-time major victor has just two wins to his name over the Spaniard - and the 31-year-old hinted that was part of his thinking when skipping the whole of the clay-court season. Third seed Alexander Zverev, unseeded Kyle Edmund, and Denis Shapovalov are some of the young names, who can reach the final stages of the clay-court tournament.

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In a battle of two former Grand Slam finalists, Nishikori raced through the final two sets to progress with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory. Nadal has five main tour matches under his belt this season and is now the top ranked player in the world.

But he was close to his best against Berdych, despite making a slow start and calling for a medical timeout for his troublesome wrist.

"Hope I can put more matches on clay".

'I always feel good when I am here, ' Nadal added.

Djokovic will next face Borna Coric of Croatia, who beat French veteran Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-3.

British 23-year-old Kyle Edmund - who begins his tournament tomorrow with a showdown against Andreas Seppi - is an outside shot at 50/1.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

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