Rafael Nadal praises Grigor Dimitrov ahead of Monte Carlo clash

Rafael Nadal praises Grigor Dimitrov ahead of Monte Carlo clash

Rafael Nadal praises Grigor Dimitrov ahead of Monte Carlo clash

Spanish tennis superstar was happy with the way he kicked off his 2021 clay-court season. On Wednesday, No. 3 seed Nadal kicked off his campaign at the Monte Carlo Masters as he handed a straight-set 6-1 6-2 defeat to Argentine tennis player Federico Delbonis.

Nadal nade an ideal start to the match, having claimed back-to-back breaks to open an early 5-0 lead. Delbonis served out the sixth game to get on the scoreboard but that was all from him in the first set as Nadal served out for the opener in the seventh game.

Nadal also started the second set with back-to-nack breaks but Delbonis got one break back in the fourth game to reduce the deficit to 3-1. Nadal claimed his third break of the set in the seventh game, before serving out for the match in the eighth game.

“It was solid match," said Nadal, per the ATP website. "Of course, a very positive result. He's a good player on clay... Nothing unbelievable, but nothing wrong. Just a solid match, a positive start. I think I did what I had to do today."

Nadal plays next Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov, ranked at No. 17 in the world, handed a 7-6 (3) 6-4 loss to France's Jeremy Chardy to make the round-of-16 in Monte Carlo. The head-to-head record between Nadal and Dimitrov stands on the Spaniard's side as the world No.

3 has a 13-1 record against the Bulgarian. "We've had some great matches," said Nadal. "In Melbourne, of course... We played another great match in Beijing, another one in Shanghai. He's a good friend, a good guy, and a great player.

It's going to be a tough test in my second round. It's going to be his third. I need to be ready for it. I hope to be ready for it. I am just excited to play a tough match very early in the tournament."