Aslan Karatsev advances at Monte Carlo Masters as rain delays play

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MONACO — Aslan Karatsev set up a second-round match with Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Monte Carlo Masters by defeating Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-4 as rain played havoc with the clay-court tournament’s schedule.

Karatsev, who rose to 29th in the ATP rankings from No. 194 since August, saved all four break points he faced. He broke his opponent immediately and led 4-3 in the opening set when rain interrupted play for more than four hours.

Once back from the locker room, Karatsev won two straight games to seal the opening set. The right-handed Russian hit a total of 23 winners and closed out the match with a cross-court backhand.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina also advanced with a 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Alex de Minaur and John Millman defeated Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-3.

Rafael Nadal is seeking a record-extending 12th title at the Monte Carlo country club and the 20-time Grand Slam champion could meet top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the Australian Open champion, in the final. Djokovic beat Nadal in the 2013 final and won the tournament again in 2015, while Nadal’s 11th title came in 2018.

Both have a bye into the second round.

Nadal was beaten by defending champion Fabio Fognini in the semifinals in 2019, and the tournament was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fognini was set to start the defense of his title against Miomir Kecmanovic.