Murray, Nadal in tough opening Monte Carlo wins

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Top-ranked Andy Murray defeated Gilles Muller 7-5, 7-5 to advance to the third round of Monte Carlo Masters.

World No. 1 Andy Murray and defending champion Rafael Nadal made into the third round at ATP Monte-Carlo Masters on Wednesday, while eighth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov was shocked by German Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets.

Facing his good friend Gilles Muller of Luxembourg, Murray, who played his first match since March 12 due to a right elbow injury, dropped his serve in the opening game, and had to save two set points in the ninth, while clawing back for a 7-5, 7-5 victory.

"Obviously, the first service game was not ideal, but when you are coming back without serving for a few weeks, I think that's normal," commented the top seed, adding that his play got better and better as the match went on.

Murray was desperate for his maiden victory at the tournament, while Nadal was chasing his 10th success, which began from a 6-0, 5-7, 6-3 win against Britain's Kyle Edmund.

Nadal will face the 19-year-old German Alexander Zverev, who forced him into a fifth set in the third round of Australian Open early this year before he reached the final.

"He's a complete player, and I need to play very well," said Nadal.

No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka, who won the tournament in 2014, had to go through three sets for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Czech player Jiri Vesely.

However, there were also some shocks for seeded players, as Dimitrov was eliminated by Struff 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, and 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut lost to Diego Schwartzman of Argentine 6-3, 7-6 (3), adding the woes to No. 7 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's loss to his French compatriot Adrian Mannarino on Tuesday.

The tournament's last eight spots will come out on Thursday, with seeded players holding 13 of 16 places still alive in hand.

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