World number one Rafa Nadal breezed into the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters after a 6-1 6-3 thrashing of Italy's Andreas Seppi on Thursday.
The claycourt wizard, whose eight-year reign as Monte Carlo champion was ended by Serb Novak Djokovic in the final last year, dominated the unseeded Italian from the very start.
Nadal has now won 30 consecutive matches on clay and extended his proud record in the principality to 50-2 after making light work of Seppi on centre court, breaking five times in the match.
“I played a good match, above all in the first set, The eight-times French Open champion told Spanish TV. “At the start I had a good rhythm and I was able to change the direction of the ball and he didn't know where to put himself.”
Earlier, Swiss third seed Stanislas Wawrinka reached the quarter-finals without hitting a ball on Thursday after his third-round opponent Nicolas Almagro withdrew injured.
“I woke up this morning with a severe pain in my left foot that prevented me from even walking normally,” Almagro said.
“After consulting with the doctor for a long time this morning, we decided together that it was better for me not to play today.”
Australian Open champion Wawrinka advances to meet eighth seed Milos Raonic after the Canadian beat 11th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo 6-4 6-3.
Raonic's victory was a routine one with the hard-hitting Canadian breaking his opponent's serve four times as he worked through his own service games without facing a break point.
Local favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, seeded ninth, shook off a mediocre start to celebrate his 29th birthday with a 5-7 6-3 6-0 victory over Italy's Fabio Fognini.
After competing well for a majority of the match, the 10th-seeded Fognini lost focus and let the match slip from his grasp, winning just four points in the final set.
Later on Thursday, former world number one Roger Federer takes on Czech Lukas Rosol before Djokovic continues the defence of his title against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in their third-round matches. – Reuters