Monte-Carlo Masters: Marin Cilic advances to R3

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With AP Photos.Rafael Nadal remains on course to retain his Monte Carlo Masters title and won't have Novak Djokovic standing in his way. "That's all." Nadal said after the victory.

"It was hard yesterday early in the match, I rotated on my knee. I'll know more in the [coming] days". Since Shanghai a year ago, I have spent not enough time on court competing. But he came back yesterday, I think match point down, and had a tough one himself. "That's what I need". Nadal improved to 64-4 lifetime in the principality after one hour and 18 minutes. Otherwise, Roger Federer would take over the top spot.

But after two impressive victories for Nadal in Spain's Davis Cup quarter-final win last weekend, the 31-year-old secured an emphatic 6-1, 6-3 victory against the former British No 2 to ease his way into the last 16. "No doubt about that". "I have to play an aggressive tennis, high intensity".

"I've done, with people around me, everything in our power to get my elbow in the best possible shape".

"I just saw the ball going straight to the ball boy".

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The Serb, seeded ninth in the ongoing Masters 1000 tournament, needed 10 match points to register a 7-6 (2), 7-5 win over Coric. Djokovic had said he was playing without pain on his injury-prone wrist for the first time in two years after his win over Lajovic, and the way he fired some forehand winners Wednesday was a testament to his statement.

But the big-hitting Russian grew into the match and broke back as Nadal sent a backhand spinning wide. "I'm obviously lacking that match play".

Austria's Dominic Thiem (pic) celebrates after winning his third round match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic, April 19, 2018.

Second-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, the Australian Open runner-up, had seven aces in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win against Fernando Verdasco.

Jan-Lennard Struff was edged out by fellow countryman Alexander Zverev in a dramatic three-set clash in Monte Carlo, but he did produce some moments of magic, which included a stunning drop volley midway through the second set.

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But Goffin broke again and served out the match at the third attempt to book a quarter-final against Bulgarian fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6 6-3 6-4.

In other matches, Kei Nishikori of Japan overcame an early break to beat Daniil Medvedev of Russian Federation 7-5, 6-2, while No 11 Roberto Bautista Agut, Jan-Lennard Struff, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Richard Gasquet also won.

Another popular player in these parts, unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi, has returned from a post-Rotterdam absence to nurse his chronic back problem to survive two three-set tests over Kyle Edmund and lucky-loser Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, while at the top of the draw, the big-and big-talented-Karen Khachanov, became the last man standing in No16 seed Adrian Mannarino's tricky quartet.

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