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Rafael Nadal delivers verdict after thumping Roberto Bautista Agut win in Monte Carlo - Express

Nadal hadn’t played a tennis match since Indian Wells last month when he was forced to withdraw at the semi-final stage with an injury.

But he showed no ill-effects of those knee problems as he outclassed Bautista Agut from the outset.

The 11-time Monte Carlo champion raced away with the first set 6-1 and although Bautista Agut improved in the second set it wasn’t enough to stop Nadal winning 6-1 6-1.

It was Nadal’s 16th straight win at Monte Carlo and he improves to a career 69-4 win-loss record.

And speaking after the match, Nadal was pleased with how he performed.

Nadal told Amazon Prime: "I had great feelings. Always this court is so so special for me.

"I’m enjoying the fact that I have one more time the chance to be playing here in this amazing club.

"I’m just happy for this good beginning [to the tournament]."

When asked if he ever feels like he could have done better despite an exceptional display, he said: “Always yes.

“Especially at the beginning of the clay court season. You are always looking to what you can add.

"I think I did what I had to do today. It was the first match on clay in almost a year so I just tried to play solid and dominant with my forehand when I had the chance.

"Then a couple of times [I had] volleys [at the net] because I was in control of the point.

"So that is good news."

Grigor Dimitrov beat Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6 6-4 and will face Nadal next.