Monte Carlo | Norrie comfortably through opener
Cameron Norrie, ranked 56, secured his first 1000 level win when he defeated Adrian Mannarino of France 6-4 6-3 on his debut at the Monte Carlo Masters.
Yeah, it’s very nice. I like the conditions here. Everything is kind of on top of each other. It’s pretty sick kind of playing tennis on the side of a mountain with a water view. I definitely do like it Cameron Norrie
The 23-year-old Briton was on court for one hour and 19 minutes during which time he struck three aces to reach the second round where he faces Marton Fucsovics who in turn surprised 12th seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5 3-6 6-1.
The British No.2 earned an early break against the Frenchman ranked 58, and sealed the opening set before doing the same in the second set to secure what was a comfortable win.
There are high hopes for Norrie during the clay court swing of the tour as his game is well suited to the surface and he now carries British hopes following the disappointing loss by Kyle Edmund 24-hours earlier.
He is also developing his physique having added Vasek Jursik to his team as trainer. Jursik has previously worked with Thanasi Kokkinakis and Angelique Kerber.
Asked how he felt about being in the Principality, he commented: “It’s not bad at all. It’s pretty solid. You can’t eat anything very cheaply here, but that’s the only downside for me.
“Yeah, it’s very nice. I like the conditions here. Everything is kind of on top of each other. It’s pretty sick kind of playing tennis on the side of a mountain with a water view. I definitely do like it.”
In other first round engagements, American Taylor Fritz, ranked 65, move into the next round following 34-year-old Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s retirement with a back problem, a recurring injury for the Frenchman.
Tsonga’s pulled out after 57-minutes on court with the score line in favour of the American, 6-4 2-0.
Canadian revelation Felix Auger-Aliassime also advanced into round two after beating Argentine qualifier Juan Ignacio Londero 7-5 7-6(5) where he will take on Alexander Zverev in what should be an intriguing match against the world No.3.
The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who reached last month’s Miami semi-finals as a qualifier, now boasts a ranking of 33rd — up from being 175 a year ago.
Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert defeated Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco 6-4 6-4, while local Gilles Simon rounded out opening-round play with a 7-5 6-1 defeat of Australian 19 year-old, Alexei Popyrin playing his first ATP-level match on clay. The teenager also required medical attention for his neck during the second set.
In second round action Argentine Guido Pella beat seventh seed Marin Cilic 6-3 5-7 6-1 in just over two hours leaving the Croatian still looking for his second win since reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.
“This is my best surface, I knew I had chances,” Pella, the world No.35 said. “But I had to play well. I was a bit nervous at the start, it was my first time on this court. But playing here is a dream – it’s unreal.”
Pella moved into a winning position as he broke Cilic for the eighth time by winning a six-minute game before serving out for the biggest upset of the event so far, saving a break point in the final game and wrapping up as Cilic fired wide.
Also out is the eighth seed Karen Khacahanov who was beaten by qualifier Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 7-6(4) 6-4.
Top seed Novak Djokovic successfully faced off Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat him last month in the Indian Wells third round, but still needed three sets to move into round three. The Serbian world No.1 received a code violation en route to his 6-3 4-6 6-4 victory.