Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Flawless Djokovic stops the rot on the Monte Carlo clay

Rafael Nadal GETTYRafael Nadal is a 10-time winner in Monte Carlo
| 18 April, 2018, 03:21

Germany's Mayer fell out after suffering a 7-5, 6-4 defeat to Luxembourg's Muller, and qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas kept his Monte Carlo dream alive with an assured 6-3, 6-4 win over Denis Shapovalov.

The 14th-ranked righty from Thornhill, Ont., will face either Italy's Marco Cecchinato or Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the second round of the clay-court tournament. To kick off his play at the 2018 Monte-Carlo Masters, the Slovenian defeated Mirza Bašić in straight sets.

Former world number one Novak Djokovic loses just one game on his way to victory over Dusan Lajovic in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Lajovic got a game on the board and created four break-point opportunities, but Djokovic was still able to seal victory in just 56 minutes.

First round matches to watch?

Djokovic has seen himself drop to No 13 in the world rankings while also splitting with coach Andre Agassi in a turbulent few months. He then won a 10th French Open.


"I've had a very hard time in the last 12 months with the injury and everything else that's happened", Djokovic said. I know that I can play much better than that, but I couldn't. I was questioning which way I want to move ahead.

But playing in familiar surroundings, Djokovic broke five times and sent Lajovic scrambling to cover the wide dispersal of his powerful groundstrokes from his own baseline.

Nishikori, like Djokovic, needs time on court after only recently returning from a torn tendon in his right wrist. The Spaniard was dominant previous year on clay and has typically been head-and-shoulders above the rest on the surface throughout his career. He has not played since the Australian Open back in January.

Notable absentees by choice are Federer, Juan Martin del Potro, Hyeon Chung, Kevin Anderson and John Isner. Borna Coric, at a career-high 28, made the semis of Indian Wells and quarters in Miami; Andrey Rublev won on Umag's clay last summer, was US Open quarter-finalist, the Doha runner-up, and is now into the main draw on clay for the first time; and Djokovic's first seed is No5 seed Dominic Thiem, who has seven clay titles, and was runner-up to Nadal in Barcelona and Madrid previous year.

"Under the circumstances and considering I haven't played too many official matches, I thought I played well, started the tournament well". In the semis, possible opponents Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin or compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut.

Another former Grand Slam finalist, Milos Raonic, also had to fight back from a set down before beating wildcard Lucas Catarina 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Donaldson ranted at the chair umpire over a line call and then squared up to him as he continued to argue.

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