Djokovic, Nadal reach third round in Monte Carlo

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France (Sports Network) - World No. 1 star Novak Djokovic and seven-time reigning champion Rafael Nadal each posted second- round victories Wednesday at the Monte Carlo Masters, the third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year.

The 2009 runner-up Djokovic handled Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-4 in 1 hour, 28 minutes, while a second-seeded Nadal erased Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour 26 minutes on the red clay at the famed Monte Carlo Country Club.

The reigning Australian Open, U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic is now 7-0 lifetime against Seppi.

"I haven't played a match on a clay court since Roland Garros last year, so I'm happy with how I played," Djokovic said.

Up next for Djokovic will be capable Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, while Nadal will encounter Kazakhstani qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin in the third round.

The clay-court wizard Nadal won an Open Era-record seventh consecutive title here last year and is a staggering 40-1 lifetime in Monte Carlo. He topped David Ferrer in last year's all-Spanish finale.

Nadal and fellow former No. 1 Roger Federer are the all-time leaders with 19 Masters titles apiece.

The former No. 1 Nadal is seeking his first title of any kind since capturing last year's French Open.

In other action involving top-10 seeds, No. 7 Serb Janko Tipsarevic drubbed Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-3, No. 8 Spaniard Nicolas Almagro dismissed Italian wild card Potito Starace 7-6 (7-3), 6-1, and No. 9 Frenchman Gilles Simon dismantled Portuguese qualifier Frederico Gil 6-3, 6-0.

A mild upset came when France's Julien Benneteau took out 15th-seeded Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 6-3, while a 16th-seeded Dolgopolov avoided an upset by holding off promising Aussie Bernard Tomic 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. Benneteau will face third-seeded British star Andy Murray on Thursday.

Some other second-round action saw Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka cool off last week's Casablanca champion Pablo Andujar, of Spain, 7-5, 6-3 and the aforementioned Kukushkin get past Italian Filippo Volandri 7-6 (10-8), 2-6, 6-2.

The 2012 winner of this $3.2 million event will collect $603,000.