Former champion Stan Wawrinka made it to the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters, as did Dominic Thiem when they played their respective matches on Monday.
In football, Barcelona were held by Girona in their La Liga clash, but still managed to extend their lead over Real Madrid.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 11 April, 2023:
Wawrinka, Thiem through in Monte Carlo
The 2014 Monte Carlo Masters winner Stan Wawrinka was full of relief Monday to get past the first round, as Russian qualifier Ivan Gakhov secured a date with world No 1 Novak Djokovic.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka has slipped to 90th in the ATP rankings but secured his second-round ticket with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win over Tallon Griekspoor.
Also past the first hurdle in this warm-up for the French Open were 2021 Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini and 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem.
But Andy Murray’s participation in the Principality ended prematurely with the Scottish wild card despatched 6-1, 6-3 by Australian 14th seed Alex de Minaur.
Gakhov’s reward for edging past American Mackenzie McDonald 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 was a Tuesday second-round date with Djokovic. This will be the Serb’s first match since he lost the semifinal in Dubai at the start of March to Daniil Medvedev.
Forced to miss the American swing in Indian Well and Miami due to his anti-Covid vaccination stance Djokovic said on Sunday he was “motivated” to hit the clay-court season running as he targets a 23rd Grand Slam at Roland Garros.
His path to a third Monte Carlo title has been smoothed by the absences due to injury of 11-time champion Rafael Nadal and Spanish teenage star Carlos Alcaraz.
Wawrinka, who next faces American eighth seed Taylor Fritz, said “it’s great to be here” after his defeat of Griekspoor.
The 38-year-old Wawrinka, who beat Roger Federer to the 2014 title, has failed to make it past the second round since 2017 and after two seasons blighted by injury is keen to make up for lost time.
“Nowadays, each win is important,” he said.
“Physically I’m doing well and my form is decent enough. I’m capable of beating lots of players, I’ve just got to play my game.”
As for Berrettini, he was claiming his first win on Monte Carlo’s clay at the third attempt after dominating Maxime Cressy 6-4, 6-2.
Thiem knocked out France’s top hope Richard Gasquet 6-1, 6-4, with Danish sixth seed Holger Rune waiting for the 2020 US Open winner in the second round.
Results from the ATP Monte Carlo Masters on Monday (x denotes seeding; players representing Russia and Belarus are banned from competing under the name or flag of their countries):
Ivan Gakhov bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 7-6 (8/6), 2-6, 6-3
Jack Draper (GBR) bt Sebastian Baez (ARG) 6-3, 7-5
Diego Schwartzman (ARG) bt David Goffin (BEL) 6-4, 6-2
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) bt Filip Krajinovic (SRB) 5-7, 7-6 (12/10), 6-1
Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) bt Cameron Norrie (GBR x11) 6-3, 6-4
Matteo Berrettini (ITA) bt Maxime Cressy (USA) 6-4, 6-2
Dominic Thiem (AUT) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-1, 6-4
Alex de Minaur (AUS x14) bt Andy Murray (GBR) 6-1, 6-3
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) 6-4, 6-3
Botic van de Zandschulp (NED) bt Marton Fucsovics (HUN) 3-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-1
Stan Wawrinka (SUI) bt Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
Alexei Popyrin (AUS) bt Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-6 (7/1), 6-3
Benjamin Bonzi (FRA) bt Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 6-1, 7-5
Barcelona held by Girona
Title-chasing Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw by Girona at Camp Nou on Monday, extending their lead on Real Madrid at the top of La Liga by one point, now sitting 13 clear with 10 games remaining.
Still smarting from their Clasico humiliation by Madrid last week in the Copa del Rey, Barcelona were far from their best in a Catalan derby clash, despite the motivation of seeing the champions lose on Saturday against Villarreal.
Girona, mid-table, were solid and forced Xavi Hernandez’s side to drop points at home in La Liga for only the third time this season.
Barcelona secured their 21st clean sheet in the top flight but were not able to fully capitalise on Real Madrid’s stumble, as they bid to win La Liga for the first time since 2019.
“As the minutes passed, they started to gain confidence in defence, and we were struggling to make the final pass or take our chances,” Barca captain Sergio Busquets told DAZN.
“Our objective remains the same, to win La Liga, and to try to win it as soon as possible. We’re 13 points clear, but our objective remains the same.”
Xavi, still without several key players including Pedri and Ousmane Dembele, lined up with Ansu Fati and Raphinha alongside La Liga’s top scorer Robert Lewandowski up front.
The Polish forward came close to opening the scoring on four minutes after being teed up by Fati, whipping an effort onto the roof of the net.
Barcelona supporters chanted Lionel Messi’s name again after 10 minutes, representing the World Cup winner’s former Barca shirt number, amid hopes he could return to his former club after his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires.
“Leo generates excitement, they have chanted his name in two games now, we’ll see what happens,” Xavi told reporters.
“We are focused on this, we have to win La Liga.”
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day