Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - World No. 1 star Novak Djokovic and eight-time reigning champion Rafael Nadal were a pair of second- round winners Wednesday at the $3.465 Monte Carlo Masters, the third ATP Masters 1000 event of the year.
Djokovic, who has been nursing an ankle injury suffered during some Davis Cup action a couple weeks ago, started slow Wednesday before rebounding for a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny, while the third- seeded former No. 1 Nadal won his 43rd straight match on the red clay at the famed Monte Carlo Country club with a 6-1, 6-2 pasting of helpless Aussie Marinko Matosevic.
This prestigious tennis event, which dates all the way back to 1897, has been captured the last eight years by the great Nadal, who topped Djokovic in last year's marquee finale. Last year's final also marked a rematch of the 2009 title match, which was also won by the clay-court king Nadal.
Nadal, who is now 45-1 lifetime at this event, owns a record 22 Masters titles overall. The seven-time French Open champion's third-round opponent will be 16th-seeded German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Meanwhile, fourth-seeded former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych opened his stay here with a 7-5, 6-4 decision against Spaniard Marcel Granollers on Day 4.
Ninth-seeded Croat Marin Cilic knocked out 6-foot-8 South African Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-3, while veteran Austrian left-hander Jurgen Melzer upset 10th-seeded Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-2. Almagro was a clay-court runner-up in Houston last week, while Anderson was a runner-up on the dirt in Casablanca.
In other second-round action involving seeds, Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen upended No. 12 Milos Raonic of Canada 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (7-3) and No. 13 Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka drilled Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-1.
Other wins came for Italian Fabio Fognini and German Florian Mayer.