Djokovic dominates without suffering in Monte Carlo

MONTE CARLO-. Novak Djokovic qualified this Thursday for the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 by beating the Italian Lorenzo Musetti (24th in the world) in his third round duel, with whom he had lost precisely at that same stage of the tournament a year ago. ±o.

The victory of the Serbian world number one was the news of the day in Monte Carlo along with the eliminations of the Russian Daniil Medvedev and the German Alexander Zverev, fourth and fifth in the ATP ranking respectively.

After consummating his particular 'vendetta', Djokovic will face Australian Alex De Miñaur (11th) in the quarterfinals on Friday, who defeated his compatriot Alexei Popyrin (46th) 6-3, 6-4.

The tennis player from Belgrade will experience his first quarterfinal on Monegasque clay since 2019 and his tenth in total. He has not reached the semifinals in that competition since the 2015 edition, in which he achieved his second and until now last title in this Masters 1000 that traditionally opens the European season on clay heading to Roland Garros.

Musetti gave the big surprise against Djokovic in 2023 and this Thursday he also started creating problems, breaking the Balkan's serve from the start to then distance himself with 4-2 in the first set.

With the score at 4-3, Djokovic protested a ball to the referee and that caused loud boos from the public, usually supportive of the players from neighboring Italy. The Serbian did not allow himself to be intimidated and even made a gesture that was understood by a section of the spectators as a provocation.

Little by little, the number one was rediscovering his tennis, he ended up taking that first set 7-5 and then in the set he did not have so many problems, to finish 6-3.

“He played a little less well than me. I had the support of the public,” commented Djokovic with irony, who considered that at that moment of the boos “the game changed.”

Losing my nerves

For his part, Daniil Medvedev gave in to the pressure and anger, being eliminated in the round of 16 against his compatriot Karen Khachanov (17th) 6-3, 7-5.

The day before, the world number 4 had already been a victim of his temperamental character against the Frenchman Gaël Monfils, losing concentration for three games before returning to the match. Against Khachanov, the incident occurred at the end of the match and cost him the defeat.

A ball from his opponent, given as good but clearly out, gave Khachanov two break balls. Medvedev saved the first, but then double faulted, allowing his opponent to lead 6-5 on serve.

It was then that Medvedev violently threw his racket backwards against the wall at the back of the court, without injuring or impacting anyone.

The gesture, however, cost him to start the last game with a penalty point and could not prevent Khachanov's victory.

“I'm happy because it's the first time I've beaten him since 2018” in the semifinals in Moscow, congratulated Khachanov, a silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

In the quarterfinals he will face Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (12th) on Friday, who beat German Alexander Zverev 7-5, 7-6 (7/3).

The Italian Jannik Sinner, world number 2, did not fail among the favorites, who beat the German Jan-Lennard Struff (25th) 6-4 and 6-2.

Sinner, recent champion in Miami and who at the beginning of the season was crowned at the Australian Open, will face in the quarterfinals the winner of the duel between the Danish Holger Rune (7th) and the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (9th).