Nadal opens his claycourt season with easy win

By Mark Meadows

MONACO (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal dazzled Finland's Jarkko Nieminen with a florescent yellow shirt and his all-round game in a comfortable 6-2 6-2 win in the Monte Carlo Masters second round Wednesday while Andy Murray finally won a match.

The Spaniard, playing his first match of the year on his favored surface after receiving a first-round bye, will meet France's Richard Gasquet in round three Thursday after the 13th seed beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2 6-1.

"I need a few more days. I have to play more aggressive on backhand, I have to move better, I have to have a few less mistakes than today."

Third seed Murray had lost his opening match in each of his last three tournaments since his Australian Open final defeat by Novak Djokovic but he easily broke the streak without being especially fluent in a 6-1 6-4 win over Radek Stepanek.


The Briton, only really rattled when dropping his serve midway through the second set, barely had to get out of first gear to beat the error-prone Czech but will face a stiffer test Thursday against in-form home crowd favorite Gilles Simon.

Fourth seed David Ferrer trounced a demoralized Feliciano Lopez 6-2 6-0, displaying the potency of his serve at the Monte Carlo Country Club nestled between the cliffs and the sea when he fired three straight aces to go 5-0 up in the second set.

However, sixth seed Fernando Verdasco surprisingly lost 6-4 6-3 to Tommy Robredo in another all-Spanish tie while Juergen Melzer, Gael Monfils, Frederico Gil, Viktor Troicki and Nicolas Almagro also went through.

Marin Cilic benefited from Pere Riba retiring hurt to set up a third-round meeting with world number three Roger Federer, an impressive winner over Philipp Kohlschreiber Tuesday.

World number two Djokovic has skipped the first men's claycourt tournament of the year in Europe with a knee problem.

(Editing by Sonia Oxley and Ken Ferris)