ATP Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal downs Delbonis to follow Djokovic into R3

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ATP Monte Carlo: Rafael Nadal downs Delbonis to follow Djokovic into R3

The 11-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal is back in action after almost two months, beating Federico Delbonis 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 20 minutes to advance into the third round. It was Nadal's 390th Masters 1000 triumph and the 72nd from 77 Monte Carlo encounters, seeking the 36th Masters 1000 title at his beloved event.

Rafa lost serve once and stole the rival's serve five times to control the pace and bring the victory home. Delbonis played a bit better in set number two, but it wasn't enough for a more positive result. For the fifth time in their five encounters, Nadal won a set against Delbonis 6-1, dominating both serve and return in the opener to ensure it in 30 minutes.

Rafa took 26 out of 39 points, giving away five points behind the initial shot and securing two breaks for a massive lead. The Spaniard had ten winners and four unforced errors, leaving the Argentine on two winners and 11 mistakes.

Nadal had an enormous advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and a nice lead in the most extended ones for a one-sided result. The 11-time champion grabbed the first game with a forehand down the line winner and opened a 2-0 advantage with an early break following a deep return that Delbonis failed to control.

The Spaniard confirmed the lead with a service winner in game three and moved 4-0 in front when Federico hit a double fault. World no. 3 held at love in game five to move further ahead and brought the set home in style with a forehand winner at 5-1.

Rafael Nadal defeated Federico Delbonis to advance into the third round.

Continuing where he left in the previous one, Rafa kicked off the second set with a break, converting the third chance with a mighty forehand. Delbonis netted a backhand in game two to give it to Nadal at love, drawing further away from a positive result.

Unable to find free points from his serve or impose his forehand, the Argentine had to give serve away in the third game following Nadal's forehand down the line, with the mighty Spaniard marching towards the finish line.

Out of a sudden, Federico created four break chances in the fourth game, seizing the last one to secure his first break and extend the encounter at least a bit. Finding his serve and forehand, the Argentine saved a break point at 1-3 and closed it with a service winner after two deuces to remain in touch.

Rafa claimed the sixth game to stay in front and grabbed a break in the next one to forge a 5-2 advantage and see the finish line within his sight. Serving for the victory in game eight, Nadal wasted a match point before saving a break chance with a forehand winner.

Delbonis fended off the second match point with a volley winner before Nadal seized the third to move over the top and advance into the last 16.