Rafael Nadal was a successful on clay against his opponent Kyle Edmund, the newest British rising star. As the defending champion of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters and 9-time title holder, the pressure was enormous for the 30-year-old Spaniard who is yet to win a title in 2017. He bumped twice into Roger Federer at the Australian Open and recently in Miami, while the third final was snatched away from Nadal in Acapulco by a brilliant Sam Querrey.

Monte Carlo could be the trigger in a blistering clay court season

Having won this particular tournament 9 times in the past, Rafael Nadal seems to always take off in style when the ATP calendar comes to the clay court swing.

Last year, a disappointing first part of the season came to an end at the very same event, with Nadal notching his 9th Monte Carlo title in his showcase and the 28th Masters title overall.

His first output of tennis at this event turned into a vivid thriller. It was the first time Kyle Edmund (45 ATP) and Rafael Nadal competed against one another in an ATP level tournament. Despite showing some decent tennis in the opening set, Edmund succumbed to a huge amount of unforced errors. The set went to Nadal 6-0. The next set saw a different approach from the 22-year-old, who made his way deep into the court, pressing Nadal from both wings. It paid off, as Nadal lost the wheel of the match, handing the set to Kyle Edmund.

It was an unexpected turn, but certainly, the crowd enjoyed an additional third act. Nadal came out stronger, and despite some mid-set break exchanges, The Spaniard prevailed 6-3.

Nadal will face Zverev, with Djokovic looming

Sharing the bottom half of the main draw with Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, David Goffin and other strong players, Nadal will try to get past another ATP rising star as he is set to face Alexander Zverev next.

Despite having a 2-0 lead in head-to-head stats against the young German, Nadal was pushed to the edge each time. Their last direct meeting took place in Melbourne back in January and it was a 5 sets thriller Nadal hardly survived. Nadal is also in position to defend ranking points in order to consolidate and improve his placement.