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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Nadal, Federer advance at Monte Carlo

Sports Shorts: Nadal, Federer advance at Monte Carlo

April 17, 2014 14:12 IST

Sports Shorts: Nadal, Federer advance at Monte Carlo

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Claycourt machine Rafael Nadal recovered from a stuttering start to beat Russian qualifier Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-4, 6-1 and reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday.

The World No 1, whose eight-year reign in the principality ended last year, conceded an early break but eventually proved too much to handle for Gabashvili on centre court. Nadal, who is on a 29-match winning streak on clay, fell 2-0 behind but the Spaniard levelled in the sixth game by breaking to love.

The contest effectively ended there as Gabashvili failed to keep pace with the powerful left-hander.

Eight-times French Open champion Nadal, who has a 49-2 record in Monte Carlo after losing to Serb Novak Djokovic in last year's final, next faces Andreas Seppi of Italy.

"I think I started little bit slower. But is true that he was playing very, very aggressive, hitting very strong, with no mistakes," Nadal said.

"Always the first match, the thing that you want at the beginning is get in rhythm, play some long points, find the feelings." 


Image: Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Teymuraz Gabashvili of Russia at the ATP Monte Carlo Masters in Monte-Carlo, Monaco on Wednesday
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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'It was clearly a good match to start my claycourt campaign'

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Earlier, Roger Federer barely broke sweat as he breezed into the third round with a 6-1, 6-2 thrashing of Czech Radek Stepanek.

The Swiss, who has a record 17 grand slam titles, will face another Czech, Lukas Rosol, after dismissing the experienced Stepanek in less than an hour on the Monte Carlo Country Club's clay.

Fourth-seeded Federer, back in the principality for the first time since 2011, saved two break points and claimed his opponent's serve four times in a quick master class.

"I had a good start to both sets, then I was solid on my own service games. The next thing you know, you're in the lead and you can hit freely," said Federer.

"It was clearly a good match to start my claycourt campaign."

Earlier, eighth seed Milos Raonic of Canada was made to work to overcome South Korea's Lu Yen-hsun 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-1.

Swiss third seed and Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka produced an awe-inspiring display in a 6-0, 6-2 drubbing of Croatian Marin Cilic.

 


Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland thanks the support after defeating Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic on Wednesday
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Robben inspires Bayern to Cup final

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Dutch winger Arjen Robben was the inspiration as Bayern Munich crushed second division Kaiserslautern 5-1 on Wednesday to set up a mouth-watering German Cup final against Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern stayed on course for an unprecedented back-to-back treble having already clinched the league title.

However, the Bavarians, who have won the German Cup a record 16 times, have not enjoyed a good run since clinching the Bundesliga crown. They have slumped to a draw and two defeats in their last three league games.

Bayern can now avenge their league loss to Dortmund and their German Super Cup defeat to the Ruhr valley club at the start of the season.

The visitors defended well from the start but they paid the price for their first mistake when Robben floated in a corner and Bastian Schweinsteiger was given far too much space in the box to head in.

Bayern, who lost 3-0 to Dortmund on Saturday, added another with Robben again the provider, cutting into the middle from the right in his trademark move before laying the ball off for Toni Kroos to rifle home after 32 minutes.

Robben earned a penalty five minutes after the restart and Thomas Mueller converted the spot-kick.

Kaiserslautern refused to surrender, however, briefly cutting the deficit through Simon Zoller's glancing header on the hour before Bayern's Mario Mandzukic struck 12 minutes from time to put the game beyond the visitors.

Goetze completed a solid Bayern performance with a close-range tap-in after a flick by Franck Ribery in stoppage time.

Dortmund, the 2012 Cup winners, booked their spot in the final with a 2-0 victory over VfL Wolfsburg on Tuesday.

 


Image: Bayern Munich's players celebrate after Tony Kroos scored a goal against 1.FC Kaiserslautern during their German soccer cup (DFB Pokal) semi-final match in Munich on Wednesday
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuters

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Monaco face trophyless season after French Cup exit

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Big-spending Monaco will end the season without a trophy after they lost 3-1 to En Avant Guingamp after extra time in the French Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.

Guingamp substitute Fatih Atik and Mustapha Yatabare netted in the 112nd and 117th minutes respectively to set up a Brittany final against Stade Rennes, who beat Ligue 2 Angers 3-2 on Tuesday, at the Stade de France on May 3.

Monaco, who spent over 100 million euros ($138 million) on players during the close season, are out of the League Cup and lie second in Ligue 1, 10 points behind leaders Paris St Germain with five games left.

The hosts went ahead on six minutes when Yatabare latched on to Steeven Langil's free kick to beat Sergio Romero from close range.

Monaco, however, dominated and were rewarded nine minutes from time when Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov equalised by tapping in Fabinho's pass back.

Guingamp were the better side in the second half, going very close several times through Yatabare, but no goals were scored and the tie went into extra time.

Atik put Guingamp ahead with a nice volley from Thibault Giresse's cross.

Giresse, the son of former France midfielder Alain Giresse, also set up Yatabare just inside the box and the Mali striker put the result beyond doubt.


Image: AS Monaco's Dimitar Berbatov celebrates a goal
Photographs: Robert Pratta/Reuters

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