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Djokovic opens defence with emphatic win
Novak Djokovic began the defence of his Monte Carlo crown with an emphatic second round victory over qualifier Albert Montanes at the first Masters Series event of the clay court season in the Principality.
After receiving an opening round bye, Djokovic got down to business with a dominant 6/0, 6/1 win over Montanes which required a mere 45 minutes.
Serbian Djokovic, is in red hot form after back to back Masters titles at Indian Wells and Miami on the US hard courts and is searching for a fifth consecutive Masters title after his wins in Shanghai and Paris at the back end of last year.
Djokovic has been runner-up on two occasions in the Principality, however, last year he did the unthinkable when he upended rival Nadal in the final ending an unprecedented eight year reign by the Spaniard.
Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were other top seeds to join Djokovic in round three.
Fifth seed Berdych dispatched Dmitry Tursunov 7/5, 6/4, sixth seed Ferrer, a runner-up in 2011 powered to a 6/3, 6/0 win over Jeremy Chardy while ninth seed Tsonga battled to a 6/4, 1/6, 6/4 over Philipp Kohlschreiber.
In the remaining first round clashes, Grigor Dimitrov overcame Casablanca finalist Marcell Granollers in three sets, Nicolas Almagro, fresh off a runner-up in the US Clay Court Championships, brushed aside Paul-Henri Mathieu while last weeks titlist in Casablanca Guillermo Garcia-Lopez continued his good form with a straight sets win over Benjamin Balleret.
Gael Monfils provided the only upset of the day as the unpredictable Frenchman downed fourteenth seed Kevin Anderson 6/4, 7/6 while Andreas Seppi, Marin Cilic, Michael Llodra and Julien Benneteau also advanced through to the second round.
Wednesday sees eight-time champion Rafa Nadal and three time runner-up Roger Federer begin their campaigns.
Nadal begins his quest to regain the title he lost to rival Djokovic last year against Teymuraz Gabashvili while Federer takes on Radek Stepanek a man that has beaten him twice on clay before and recently pushed him to three sets at the Dubai Duty Free Championships.
Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka looks to get his season back on track with a difficult opener against the inform Marin Cilic. Wawrinka has struggled since his early season domination which culminated in his first Grand Slam win in Melbourne while Cilic has been one of the Tour players this year with two tournament wins in Zagred and Delray.
Other seeds looking to advance through to the third round today are, Milos Raonic, Fabio Fognini, Tommy Robredo, Grigor Dimitrov and Nicolas Almagro.