Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Djokovic saunters through in Monte Carlo

Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic GETTYRafael Nadal could face Novak Djokovic for the first time in 11 months
Andrew Cummings | 17 April, 2018, 18:42

Novak Djokovic started his clay-court season with a flawless straight-sets victory over compatriot Dusan Lajovic in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Former Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic had to come back from losing the first set to Monegasque wildcard Lucas Catarina, while French veteran Julien Benneteau bowed out of his final appearance in Monaco at the first hurdle with a straight-sets defeat by Coric. I feel like Tomas was struggling a little bit in second, and third too. "Hope I get more confidence and do well [at] these five tournaments on clay".

He is now a ten-time champion in men's singles at the Monte-Carlo Masters.

Maintaining that Monday's win is a "great start" to the ongoing clay-court tournament, the two-time champion also expressed delight at joining hands with Marian Vajda, almost an year after parting ways with his long-time coach.

The world No. 93 showed his first signs of resistance at the beginning of the second, finally getting on the board to level at 1-1 before setting up a break point chance of his own.

The Serb said he is now playing pain-free, after struggling with a right elbow injury.

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.

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The top-ranked Spaniard only recently returned to action at the Davis Cup, after a recurrence of the injury forced him out of the Mexico Open and then Masters tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami last month. Djokovic won 6-2, 6-4 in the second round and went on to win the tournament. "But I'm looking ahead".

The shot clock works to enforce stronger rules on how much time the players on the court are allowed to take between serves after points, limiting it to just 25 seconds. He broke the 12th-seeded Czech's serve six times and dropped his own twice.

"I thought it was good considering the amount of matches I've played". His serve motion seemed more relaxed and effective than it did in the USA last month.

Other winners included Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, Milos Raonic of Canada, Andrey Rublev of Russian Federation, and Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.

Ramos-Vinolas, who lost in last year's final, beat Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-3.

He then squared up to Gabas and shouted: "Yes it is, yeah it is", as he insisted his mark was right and the umpire's call of in was wrong.

The 21-year-old was given a code violation following an outburst which lasted for nearly five minutes.

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