Dimitrov, Thiem survive early scares in Monte Carlo

The 12-time grand slam singles champion recently re-appointed coach Marian Vajda after splitting with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek ahead of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic found Coric a resilient opponent in France as he was constantly taken to deuce when trying to win the second set.

The former world No 1 was showing the ferocity and accuracy of old in his groundstrokes and he had the better of three straight breaks to take control. The top seed, who is bidding to win the clay tournament for an 11th time and a third year in succession, has not played on the tour since he retired with a hip injury in his Australian Open quarter-final clash against Marin Cilic.

"I know when I'm healthy, when I'm not dealing with any significant injury that can disturb me on the way to compete and train, then I can really reach that desired level".

Djokovic came through a tight first set in a tie-break and moved a break clear in the second, before late drama as he missed nine chances to close out the match.

The match lasted more than two hours, and Djokovic, playing in only his fourth tournament since last summer's Wimbledon championships, required 10 match points to get his victory over the line.

The ninth seed rediscovered his composure, though, to finally complete the job at the 10th time of asking as the 39th-ranked Coric sent a backhand flying long.

Djokovic has won the title twice, including when he ended Nadal's 46-match winning streak by winning the 2013 title.

MONACO (AP) - Novak Djokovic and defending champion Rafael Nadal needed a combined 14 match points to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Spaniard wrapped up a comfortable victory in the Monaco sunshine with another break as Bedene hit a forehand into the net.

In other matches, Kei Nishikori of Japan overcame an early break to beat Daniil Medvedev of Russian Federation 7-5, 6-2.

Seventh seed Pouille, a semi-finalist past year, eased through the first set but Zverev hit back to claim a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) victory and reach the third round for the first time in his career. "All I (could) do was just fight and win".

Germany's Alexander Zverev recovered from a slow start to claim a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win over Gilles Müller of Luxembourg.

  • Stacy Allen