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Djokovic beats Monfils to reach third round at Madrid Open


MADRID – Novak Djokovic got off to a good start at the Madrid Open with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Gael Monfils in the second round on Tuesday.

The top-ranked Djokovic, looking to regain his best form ahead of the French Open, saved all five break points he faced and converted the three he had against the 21st-ranked Frenchman.

It was the Serb’s 18th straight win over Monfils. The match was interrupted at 2-2 in the first set as rain forced the roof on center court to be closed.

Djokovic had needed three sets in each of his last three victories this season, all in Serbia before losing the final there to Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic had lost Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his opening match in Monte Carlo, which was his only other clay tournament this season.

He arrived in Madrid with a 5-3 record and had played in only one hard-court tournament after having not been allowed to participate in the Australian Open because of his vaccination status. He lost to Jiri Vesely in the Dubai quarterfinals.

Djokovic, a three-time winner in Madrid, next faces either former No. 1 Andy Murray or Denis Shapovalov.

Earlier, Rublev reached the third round after rallying to a 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over 20-year-old Jack Draper of Britain.

The eighth-ranked Rublev is seeking his first Masters 1000 title. The win in Serbia last month added to his titles in Dubai and Marseille. Only Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz have also won three titles this season.

Marin Cilic defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, while Americans Frances Tiafoe and Jenson Brooksby lost their first-round matches in straight sets. Tiafoe lost to Cristian Garin 6-1, 6-3 and Brooksby lost to Roberto Bautista Agut 6-0, 6-2.

Teenage sensation Alcaraz will later make his singles debut against Nikoloz Basilashvili. Nadal, returning from injury, starts his Madrid Open campaign on Wednesday.

American Jessica Pegula defeated Bianca Andreescu 7-5, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal encounter with Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, who defeated Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 to reach her third WTA 1000 quarterfinal.



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