Novak Djokovic produced a clinical 6-4, 6-2 win over up-and-coming Jannik Sinner at the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday, making a successful return to clay.
Facing a stern test in his first competitive match since his record-extending ninth win at the Australian Open, the two-time Monte Carlo champion eased into his clay-court routine to reach the third round and improve his unbeaten record this season to 10-0.
After dropping his serve early, the top-ranked Djokovic won four straight games to take control of the match.
Sinner, who arrived in Monte Carlo on the back of a runner-up finish at Miami, saved two match points but was too often put on the back foot by Djokovic’s mix of baseline attacks and subtle drop shots. The 19-year-old Sinner bowed out on a double fault and Djokovic hit a total of 20 winners.
Defending champion Fabio Fognini also advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Jordan Thompson. Also, Casper Ruud earned his second top 10 victory with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against ninth-seeded Diego Schwartzman.
Djokovic, who beat Rafael Nadal in the 2013 final and won the tournament again in 2015, could face the Spaniard in Sunday’s final. Nadal, who seeks a record-extending 12th title here, was scheduled to take on Argentine qualifier Federico Delbonis later Wednesday.