Sun, Apr 21, 2019 - Page 11 News List

Djokovic knocked out at Monte Carlo as Nadal battles on

AFP, MONTE CARLO

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic was dumped out by Daniil Medvedev, while Rafael Nadal survived a struggle to reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters for the 14th time on Friday.

Djokovic, twice a champion in the principality, lost serve five times in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 defeat to Russian 10th seed, Medvedev.

Nadal, an 11-time winner of the event, rallied from 4-1 down in the opening set before finally overhauling Argentina’s Guido Pella 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

The Spaniard was in yesterday’s semi-final to face Italian Fabio Fognini, who came back to beat Croatian ninth seed Borna Coric 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal stands 11-3 in the series.

For Djokovic, defeat marked another premature exit after he crashed out early at Indian Wells and Miami last month.

The Serb, who has won the past three Grand Slam events and could conclude a personal sweep with another title at Roland Garros in June, feels that all he needs is more court time and some extra polish.

“The French Open is the ultimate goal on clay. It’s expected in a way for me to peak right at that tournament, because that’s what I’m aiming for,” Djokovic said. “This is only the first tournament on clay, and it’s a long season. Let’s see how it goes.”

“But I’ve been playing my best at Grand Slams and that’s what I intend to do,” Djokovic added.

Nadal toiled away for 2 hours, 20 minutes to win for the 71st time in 75 matches at the tournament.

“It was a very tough match,” Nadal said. “Luckily, I was able to come back [from 4-1 down] in the first set. If he had gone 5-1, it may have been almost impossible.”

Medvedev welcomed his defeat of Djokovic after losing in each of their three previous encounters.

“This was the best match of my career, maybe not in the level of tennis, but in beating the No. 1 for the first time in my life,” he said. “It’s just amazing.”

Medvedev was yestserday to meet another Serb, Dusan Lajovic, for a place in the final after the latter beat Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 7-5.

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