MONTE CARLO: Novak Djokovic stormed into the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters as the defending champion won his 11th straight match of the season 6-1, 6-0 over Albert Montanes yesterday. The second seed is bidding for a trophy at his fifth straight Masters 1000 after ending last season as winner at Shanghai and Paris before sweeping Indian Wells and Miami last month. He won the last 11 games in a row, finishing in 45 minutes and improving to 17-2 on the season. The Serb ranked second in the world behind top seed and eight-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal ran his record over Spain’s Montanes to a comfortable 6-0. “For my first clay match since Roland Garros last June it was great,” said the winner. “I could not find any flaws in my game. “My opponent was making a lot of unforced errors, I tried not to give him any rhythm. I’ve had some short matches before, it’s nice to get your work done so quickly. “But then again, longer rallies would have given more of a test so early in the clay season.” Djokovic revealed that he has been carrying a slight wrist problem for a week but said he would not speak of it, saying only that it would soon be cleared up. Spanish sixth seed David Ferrer, the 2011 finalist, started with a win over Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-0. Ninth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga joined Djokovic and Ferrer in the third round with a hard-fought 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 victory over German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Tsonga needed just under two hours to go through in front of an enthusiastic crowd, although he took a medical timeout on the way to finally securing victory on his third match point. “I just had a bad period. I felt my legs were very heavy. I didn’t feel well, so I called the doctor to explain what was happening. He gave me homeopathic treatment.”
It was a largely positive day for the French on the Cote d’Azur. Michael Llodra upset slumping Polish 16th seed Jerzy Janowicz 6-4, 6-2. Julian Benneteau advanced over Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 but Russian Teimuraz Gabashvili handed a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Gilles Simon. Bulgarian 12th seed Grigor Dimitrov reached the second round over Marcelo Granollers 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 while Italian Andreas Seppi defeated 13th seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 7-6 (7/4). Nadal, Roger Federer and Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka are to begin in the second round today. Meanwhile, prize money for this year’s French Open will top 25 million euros ($34.5 million), more than 10 percent up on 2013, the French Tennis Federation announced on Tuesday.
The men’s and women’s singles champions will each receive 1.65 million euros, a 10 percent increase on last year’s top prize. But the main increases are for the early losers, as those who fail to progress beyond the second, third and fourth rounds will receive prize money worth between 20 and 25 percent more than in 2013. As last year, an extra three million euros is up for grabs compared to the year before. “This considerable increase in the prize money for Roland-Garros is in line with the four-year plan drawn up for the period 2013 to 2016,” tournament director Gilbert Ysern explained. “It is especailly aimed at those players who are knocked out in the first week.” The increase brings the French Open into line with the other Grand Slam tournaments, with this year’s Australian Open offering prize money of 33 million Australian dollars ($30.98 million, 22.4 million euros). In 2013, Wimbledon prize money rose to £22.56 ($37.7 million, 27.34 million euros) and the total US Open kitty was worth $33.6 million (24.28 million euros).-AFP