Nadal knees get through test

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Updated: April 19, 2012

Rafael Nadal emerged a 6-4, 6-3 winner over Jarkko Nieminen with no obvious discomfort to his troublesome left knee as the Spaniard began his quest for a record eighth title at the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday.

Nadal, now 40-1 at the venue where he lost his only match in 2003, won his 38th straight game in the principality as he overcame stubborn resistance from the Finn ranked 48th who claimed the Sydney title in January.

Djokovic began with a 6-1, 6-4, victory over Andreas Seppi, taking a 5-0 lead over the 44th-ranked Italian and breaking for an early lead in the second on the way to his seventh win in the series.

The top seed will next play 16th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov, who put out new Monte Carlo resident Bernard Tomic 6-2, 5-7, 6-1

David Ferrer, the fifth seed, suffered a shock 6-3 6-2 loss to Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.

Czech Tomas Berdych moved past Croatia’s Marin Cilic 7-6 6-1, while eighth-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro defeated Italian Potito Starace by the same score.

Serb Janko Tipsarevic, the seventh seed, advanced after beating Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-2 6-3 and will next face Frenchman Gilles Simon, who hammered Federico Gil 6-3 6-0.

France’s Julien Benneteau recovered from a break down in each set to upset 15th seed Juergen Melzer 6-4 6-3 to set up a third-round tie with Andy Murray.