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Day of quick victories by top seeds at Monte Carlo


Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his tennis match against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut on the day 5 of the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series tournament on April 17, 2019 in Monaco. Yann COATSALIOU / AFP

Rafael Nadal defeated his compatriot, Roberto Bautista Agut 6/1; 6/1 to commence his quest for the twelfth title in Monaco.

Agut, who turned 31 on April 14 this year, was a shadow of his competitive self in the match with Nadal aged 32. Their first career encounter was in the semi-finals of the 2014 Madrid Masters and Nadal won 6/4; 6/3.

Also they met in the fourth round of 2017 Roland Garros and Nadal routed Agut 6/1; 6/2; 6/2. Agut had won 14 matches this season while losing just 4. In their long career, however, Nadal amassed 80 titles to Agut’s 9, and career win/loss figures of 929/191 and 259/154 respectively.

The third seed, Alexander Zverev halted the dream of Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 6/1; 6/4 in a battle of youth. The 18-year old Felix continued his impressive run this year. He has won 15 matches and lost 7. In the first round, he defeated Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina by the close score of 7/5; 7/6(6). However, in the match of two lanky players, Zverev dominated the first set and held the momentum to clinch the closer second set.

French player Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated the seventh seed, Kei Nishikori 7/5; 6/4 in the major upset of the day. In their rivalry, Nishikori won their first two encounters with close scores including his victory over Herbert in Rotterdam this year, 3/6; 6/1; 6/4.

Felix Auger-Aliassime was offered a wildcard into the tournament. He started playing tennis at the age of 5 years, with his tennis coach father Sam who is originally from Togo. His mother Marie Auger is a teacher.

His younger sister Malika also plays tennis. Standing at a towering 193 cm tall, his powerful serves are complemented with solid ground strokes and remarkable mobility.

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