Djokovic struggles to beat Coric in 2nd round of Monte Carlo Masters

Carrie Guzman
April 19, 2018

World number one Rafael Nadal raced past Slovenia's Aljaž Bedene to reach the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco today. Nishikori will face either Guillermo Garcia-Lopez or Andreas Seppi for a place in the quarter-finals.

He did not appear hindered on court against Coric and he started the more sprightly, seizing the break of serve with the contest four games old.

While 10-time champion Rafael Nadal will play Aljaz Bedene.

A double-break followed and Thiem swiftly wrapped up the set as Djokovic found the net at the end of a rally.

Coverage of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters continues on Friday with all four quarter-finals live from 10am on Sky Sports Arena. Another ace made it No. 8, but Djokovic's tame forehand allowed Coric an easy forehand victor.

Djokovic hugged Coric at the net and then patted his opponent on the cheek.

After storming into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, another break of serve saw Nadal take the first in convincing fashion.

Come the tie-break, and with Djokovic beginning to feel the pace and length of the court more confidently, the former champion slotted in a few aces, returned with precision, and another poor shot at the net from Coric put him 1-5 down. The underdog Russian lost 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (3) last summer at Wimbledon and 6-3, 6-3 a few months later in Beijing.

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Djokovic did save three set points in the first set, and the momentum carried over into the tiebreak.

But a loss of focus was swiftly punished in the next game, Djokovic broke, and would attempt to serve for the match again.

He may be match-rusty, and lacking match-fitness, but this long, testing match could be just what Djokovic needed. I'm really happy with the way I stayed focused. But he came back yesterday, I think match point down, and had a tough one himself.

Djokovic hailed Thiem as one of the best three players on clay in the world ahead of their meeting and the 24-year-old will now likely have the chance to contend with the undisputed king of the dirt, should he beat Khachanov later on Thursday.

"(Thiem) plays so good on every surface but especially on clay.

Sixth seed David Goffin defeated Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 7-5 in a match that included a freaky incident involving a ball boy.

The third-seeded Zverev won 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 against big-serving Gilles Muller, after the fourth-seeded Dimitrov had rallied to beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 and the fifth-seeded Thiem saved a match point in his 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 win against Andrey Rublev of Russian Federation.

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