Rafael Nadal earns 43rd straight win in Monte Carlo, Novak Djokovic's ankle stands up to test

Published April 17, 2013

| Associated Press

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal extended his Monte Carlo Masters winning streak to 43 matches and top-ranked Novak Djokovic won despite a balky ankle on Wednesday at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Nadal cruised past Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 6-2. Djokovic spent twice as long on court, defeating Mikhail Youzhny 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Djokovic twisted his ankle while playing for Serbia in the Davis Cup on April 7. He looked a bit tentative in the first set, but it didn't appear to impede his movement.

Nadal will face Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in the third round, and Djokovic will play either 14th-seeded Juan Monaco or Ernests Gulbis. Last year, Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final.

Earlier, Nadal nearly trailed 3-0 in the second set, but he saved two break points before taking control again.

"I played well at the beginning with the right intensity, with no mistakes," Nadal said.

At first, Matosevic looked unlikely to even win a game. There were ironic cheers from the crowd when he won his first point and the tall Australian threw both arms up in the air — twice — to milk the applause when he won his first game.

The third-seeded Nadal dropped his serve at the start of the second set and Matosevic held for a 2-0 lead. He had a chance to go further ahead, but Nadal saved the first break point with a forehand winner down the line and Matosevic sent the next opportunity into the net.

"I didn't play my best game the first game of the second, and he played well, so he had the break," Nadal said.

Nadal wrapped up victory on his first match point with a pass down the line.

The Spaniard, who played with a wrap under his left knee, missed seven months because of injury. Since his return in February, he has reached four straight finals and won three.

"Talking more than usual about the knee is not positive for me, is not positive for the opponents, for the tournament, for nobody, no?" Nadal said. "What happened happened."

Fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych, ninth-seeded Marin Cilic, No. 13 Stanislas Wawrinka, Jurgen Melzer, Fabio Fognini, Florian Mayer, and Jarkko Nieminen also won.

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http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/04/17/rafael-nadal-earns-43rd-straight-win-in-monte-carlo-novak-djokovic-ankle-stands/