Monte Carlo Masters: Stanislas Wawrinka, Dominic Thiem, Matteo Berrettini Register First Round Wins

Stanislas Wawrinka (Twitter)

Stanislas Wawrinka (Twitter)

Wawrinka opened with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Tallon Griekspoor, while, Berrettini got the better of Maxime Cressy 6-4, 6-2 in straight sets to advance to the second round of the clay court tournament

The 2014 Monte Carlo Masters winner Stan Wawrinka was full of relief Monday to get past the first round as Russian qualifier Ivan Gakhov secured a date with world number one Novak Djokovic.

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Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka has slipped to 90th in the ATP rankings but secured his second-round ticket with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Tallon Griekspoor.

Also past the first hurdle in this warm-up for the French Open were 2021 Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini and Dominic Thiem.

But Andy Murray’s participation in the Principality ended prematurely with the Scottish wild card despatched 6-1, 6-3 by Australian 14th seed Alex de Minaur.

Gakhov’s reward for edging past American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (8/6), 2-6, 6-3 was a Tuesday second-round date with Djokovic, a David and Goliath clash with almost 200 rungs in the rankings between the pair.

The Serb has not hit a shot in anger since losing his semi-final in Dubai at the start of March to Daniil Medvedev.

Forced to miss the American swing in Indian Well and Miami due to his anti-Covid vaccination stance Djokovic said on Sunday he was “motivated” to hit the clay-court season running as he targets a 23rd Grand Slam at Roland Garros.

His path to a third Monte Carlo title has been smoothed by the absences due to injury of 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and Spanish teenage star Carlos Alcaraz.

Wawrinka, who next faces American eighth seed Taylor Fritz, said “it’s great to be here” after his defeat of Griekspoor.

The 38-year-old Wawrinka, who beat Roger Federer to the 2014 title, has failed to make it past the second round since 2017 and after two seasons blighted by injury is keen to make up for lost time.

“Nowadays, each win is important,” he said.

“Physically I’m doing well and my form is decent enough.

“I’m capable of beating lots of players, I’ve just got to play my game.”

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As for Berrettini, he was claiming his first win on Monte Carlo’s clay at the third attempt after dominating Maxime Cressy 6-4, 6-2.

Thiem knocked out France’s top hope Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-4, with Danish sixth seed Holger Rune waiting for the 2020 US Open winner in the second round.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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