Nadal advances at Monte Carlo

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Rafael Nadal extended his winning streak on clay to 63 matches on Wednesday after beating Juan Ignacio Chela in the second round of the Monte Carlo.

Updated: April 20, 2007 07:25 IST
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Monte Carlo, Monaco:

Rafael Nadal extended his winning streak on clay to 63 matches on Wednesday after beating Juan Ignacio Chela 6-3, 6-1 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Nadal, the two-time defending French Open champion, is seeking his third straight Monte Carlo title. He has not lost on clay since Igor Andreev of Russia beat him in the quarterfinals of the Valencia Open in April 2005.

"It was very nice to come back here and play the first match like this," Nadal said. "I felt very well, very comfortable on court. I could have served a little bit better, but for the rest I'm very happy."

The second-seeded Spaniard next plays Kristof Vliegen of Belgium - a repeat of last year's third round match, which Nadal won in straight sets.

"He's a very talented player," Nadal said of Vliegen. "He serves well, has a good forehand, good backhand. I need to be at 100 percent."

Andreev beat fourth-seeded Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 6-2, 2-6, 6-3. Nadal and Andreev could meet again in Sunday's final.

Robin Soderling needed five match points before upsetting third-seeded Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3. The Swede failed to convert his first match point when leading 5-4 in the second set, and then had another in the tiebreaker.

In the third set, Davydenko saved two more match points. But Soderling won on his fifth chance when Davydenko's backhand was long.

Soderling will next play Max Mirnyi, who beat Sergio Roitman of Argentina 7-5, 6-4.

Sixth-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia beat 2004 French Open champion Gaston Gaudio of Argentina 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.

"I felt pretty comfortable on the court," said Djokovic, who won the Miami Masters earlier this month. "I felt like everything depended on me. The third set was more or less pretty easy after the second or third game."

Juan Carlos Ferrero, Tommy Robredo, Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer and Philipp Kohlschreiber all advanced without dropping a set.

The fifth-seeded Robredo beat Arnaud Clement of France 6-3, 6-2, Berdych ousted Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-1, 6-2, and Ferrero downed Nicolas Massu of Chile 6-2, 6-0.

No. 11 Gasquet beat Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia 6-3, 6-2, Ferrer beat Julien Benneteau of France 6-1, 7-5, and Kohlschreiber was leading 7-5, 4-1 before No. 9 David Nalbandian retired for undisclosed reasons.

Gasquet, who needed treatment for a sore right shoulder at the end of the first set, said he felt fatigued after a three-set win Tuesday over Fernando Verdasco that went for more than three hours.

"I had a bit of pain in my shoulder," he said. "It's normal, as yesterday's match was long and hard."

Gasquet will next meet seventh-seeded Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia who beat Radek Stepanek 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5).

"I will have to improve my serving against the bigger players," Gasquet said. "Ljubicic likes to dictate matches."

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