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Felix wins to set Alcaraz clash, Dimitrov advances


Is this the week Felix Auger-Aliassime returns to his best?

The Canadian made a quick start on Monday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters where he moved past Italian qualifier Luca Nardi 6-2, 6-3 to set a popcorn second-round meeting against third seed Carlos Alcaraz.

The 23-year-old was dominant in all areas against Nardi in the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting, striking 21 winners and not facing a break point according to Infosys ATP Stats to advance after 82 minutes.

“It is not the Masters where I have had the most success. Even though I train here and live here. But it is a good start to the week,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I am really happy with my level, taking control of the match and staying composed and taking care of business.”

Auger-Aliassime now holds a 9-2 record against players outside the Top 50 in the PIF ATP Rankings this season, with his best run in 2024 a semi-final showing in Montpellier. The World No. 35’s victory against Nardi was just his second in five appearances in Monte-Carlo.

He will next face Spaniard Alcaraz, who he leads 3-2 in their ATP Head2Head series. Their clash in Monte-Carlo will be the pair’s first meeting on clay.

Competing in his first match since returning to the Top 10, Grigor Dimitrov saw off Monegasque wild card Valentin Vacherot 7-5, 6-2 to improve to 7-0 in opening rounds in 2024.

“It was a difficult match,” Dimitrov said. “I am glad I kept on going. I know I was far away from my game but I have other things I can do in moments like that and that helped me step up a little bit and that was enough.”

The Bulgarian, currently No. 9 in the PIF ATP Rankings, arrived in Monte-Carlo off the back of a final run in Miami and he wasted little time finding his feet on the clay. After earning the decisive break of a tight first set in the 12th game, he showed great touch at net in the second set to triumph after one hour and 29 minutes.

Dimitrov is a two-time semi-finalist in the Principality. Holding a 21-5 record on the year, the 32-year-old will next play Miomir Kecmanovic or Matteo Berrettini.

In other action, Sebastian Ofner brushed aside Briton Daniel Evans 6-1, 6-4 in 70 minutes to advance to the second round on debut in the Principality. Alexei Popyrin defeated Corentin Moutet 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, while Argentine Francisco Cerundolo beat German qualifier Daniel Altmaier 6-2, 7-6(3).

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