• Madrid Open

Nadal on the road to Madrid title defence

ESPN staff
May 7, 2014
Rafael Nadal has struggled to overcome a back injury this year © Getty Images

Rafael Nadal cruised over the opening hurdle in his Madrid Open title defence, defeating Juan Monaco in straight sets.

The world No.1, who received a bye in the first round, was too strong for his fellow Spaniard as he dropped just one game to win 6-1 6-0.

Nadal closes in on all-time top 10

  • Rafael Nadal's victory moves the world No.1 up to 11th in the list of all-time wins in the Open era with 684. The Spaniard had started the match level with Arthur Ashe and is now just 29 behind Boris Becker in tenth position.
  • 1. Jimmy Connors - 1,253 wins

    2. Ivan Lendl - 1,071

    3. Roger Federer - 951

    4. Guillermo Vilas - 929

    5. John McEnroe - 875

    6. Andre Agassi - 870

    7. Stefan Edberg - 801

    8. Ilie Nastase - 779

    9. Pete Sampras - 762

    10. Boris Becker - 713

Nadal started the match uncharacteristically slowly and the pair exchanged breaks of serve early in the first set. But the defending champion was soon into his stride and proved too powerful for world No.56 Monaco, who failed to win another game.

"Each victory helps to raise your confidence," Nadal said. "I started a little nervously in my movement. But I got better, and now I just have to prepare for tomorrow."

Nadal will face Jarkko Nieminen in the third round after the Finn overcame Dutch qualifier Igor Sijsling 6-3 6-2.

Elsewhere, Tomas Berdych stretched his unbeaten record against Kevin Anderson to 11 matches with a 6-1 6-4 win over the South African.

"I always like to play here," Berdych said. "There was also the aspect of the many matches I've played with Kevin and all of them went my way."

Berdych will face 12th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who came back from a set-down against Romanian wildcard Marius Copil 4-6 6-3 7-6(7).

Meanwhile, 15th seed Mikhail Youzhny was upset by Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, who won 3-6 6-3 6-4.

There were also wins for Ernests Gulbis, who dispatched Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 6-4, and Lukasz Kubot, who needed three sets to overcome France's Gilles Simon 7-5 2-6 6-4

Ninth seed John Isner came through a three-set marathon to win 7-6(9) 6-7(5) 7-5 against Marinko-Matosevic.

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