Third-seeded Novak Djokovic and No. 4 Andy Murray both won in straight sets on Tuesday to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters.
Djokovic was rarely troubled in beating Oscar Hernandez of Spain 6-1, 6-2, while Murray began slowly before defeating Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 6-2 to stay on course for a first career quarter-final match on clay.
Djokovic, who reached the French Open semi-finals last year, next faces either Jean-Rene Lisnard or Albert Montanes. The Serb said he was surprised at how well he played in his first clay-court match of the season.
Murray twice dropped serve early to trail 2-1 in the opening set, but the British player took the next four games for a commanding lead. He broke Hanescu, a French Open quarter-finalist in 2005, in the seventh game of the second set to take a 5-2 lead, and then converted his fourth match point when the Romanian hit a forehand return into the net.
Murray, who lost to Roger Federer in the US Open final last year, next takes on either 14th-seeded Marin Cilic or Fabio Fognini of Italy. If he wins, he will reach a clay-court quarter-final match for the first time in his career.
Also in the second round, sixth-seeded Gilles Simon lost to Andreas Beck of Germany 7-5, 6-1. Simon, who twice beat Federer last year, said the loss to a qualifier was the worst he could recall.
Marat Safin of Russia beat Lleyton Hewitt 6-4, 7-5 in a match between two-time Grand Slam champions. Safin next plays Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador.
AP, CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova won at the Family Circle Cup on Tuesday, increasing the odds that at least one of the leading Russian seeds should reach the final again.
Top-seeded Dementieva won the first 10 games in defeating Julie Ditty of the US 6-0, 6-2; No. 3 Vera Zvonareva beat Rossana de los Rios of Paraguay 6-3, 6-2; and No. 4 Petrova overcame a mid-match stumble to beat Patricia Mayr of Austria 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.
All three Russians have played in the final; Dementieva was runner-up in 2005, Petrova won in 2006, and Zvonareva lost in last year’s final to Serena Williams, who has withdrawn from this year’s event because of the leg she injured at Miami this month.
Dementieva was appearing for the first time since she climbed to a career-high world No. 3 ranking, while Zvonareva improved her record this year to 20-3 but made a sloppy start to her clay season by dropping serve four times.
Also through the second round after first-round byes were No. 6 Marion Bartoli, who has never gone any further, and No. 7 Dominika Cibulkova, for the first time.
Sania Mirza of India ended a three-match losing streak in beating Sesil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-4, and bought a second-round match with 2004 champion Venus Williams.
AP, BARCELONA, SPAIN
Maria Kirilenko began her Barcelona Open title defense on Tuesday with a 6-2, 6-0 first-round victory over Camille Pin of France.
The sixth-seeded Russian player took advantage of Pin’s disjointed service game for six breaks while also defending seven of eight break chances on the outdoor clay.
Two seeded players failed to reach the second round on Tuesday with Kaia Kanepi and Sorana Cirstea both exiting.