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Sinner moves on at Monte Carlo Masters, defending champion Rublev ousted

Jannik Sinner Jannik Sinner - The Canadian Press

MONACO (AP) — After dominating on aggressive hard courts, Jannik Sinner made a smooth transition to softer clay by beating Sebastian Korda 6-1, 6-2 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday.

But defending champion Andrey Rublev was eliminated after a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Alexei Popyrin.

The second-seeded Sinner won 95% of points on his first serve and saved all three break points in improving his record to 23-1 this year. He has three titles in 2024, including the Australian Open — his first major trophy — and recently the Miami Open.

“I moved quite well in these conditions," said the 22-year-old Italian, who reached the semifinals at Monte Carlo last year. "Every year it is tough to come here and perform well but I am happy with the performance.”

Sinner faces Jan-Lennard Struff on Thursday in the third round, where he will join two-time champions Novak Djokovic — who won on Tuesday — and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The 12th-seeded Tsitsipas routed Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-1, 6-0 and next faces No. 5 Alexander Zverev in a contest between big servers. Djokovic takes on unseeded Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

The sixth-seeded Rublev dropped his serve three times against Popyrin, who next faces No. 11 Alex de Minaur in an all-Australian contest at the Monte Carlo Country Club, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea.

“I am feeling really comfortable on (clay) and happy to beat a guy who was in form, confident and the defending champ," Popyrin said. "It was an awesome match.”

De Minaur rallied past unseeded Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Fourth-seeded Daniil Medvedev, who is chasing his first title of the year, won 6-2, 6-4 against French veteran Gaël Monfils, and two-time French Open runner-up Casper Ruud — seeded eighth — downed Alejandro Tabilo 6-2, 6-4.

Later Wednesday, last year’s runner-up Holger Rune faced qualifier Sumit Nagal of India and No. 9 Grigor Dimitrov played Miomir Kecmanovic.

Also in the second round, there were wins for No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz, No. 14 Ugo Humbert, No. 15 Karen Khachanov and lucky loser Lorenzo Sonego, who replaced the injured Carlos Alcaraz after the Spaniard pulled out on Tuesday with a right forearm injury.

Record 11-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal pulled out with a lingering injury before the tournament.


AP tennis: