Rafael Nadal: 'Being in Monte Carlo is a dream come true'

Carrie Guzman
April 18, 2019

Thiem takes a 5-0 head to head lead into this clash, dropping one set only, and Lajovic has barely been able to lay a glove on Thiem's serve in their previous matches, with Thiem holding serve around 96% of the time.

Novak Djokovic flung a racquet into the crowd and smashed another one in a tempestuous 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Monte Carlo Masters.

The third seeds won 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 10-8 and will play the winners of the tie between John Peers and Henri Kontinen, and Diego Schwartzman and Joao Sousa.

The 11-time Monte Carlo champion improves to 69-4 at the event.

"He is the best player on clay but this surface is a little bit slower, you have a bit more time and his spin is gonna be really heavy".

It has been a fascinating year for one of the greatest players of all-time, with Djokovic losing form after an vast performance to win the Australian Open invited predictions of a calendar year Grand Slam that would bring him within two of Roger Federer's record tally of 20 major championships. The four-time Wimbledon champ's latest display of anger was similar to his outburst at Indian Wells last month.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal, who had a bye for the first round, made light work of beating fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-1.

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To have the victory in a Masters 1000, especially in Monte-Carlo, that for me is one of the most important ones in terms of personal feeling and in terms of the history of our sport.

Third seed Zverev, who lives in Monte Carlo, reached the semi-finals of his "home" event a year ago, but has endured a hard 2019 season. It all amounted to the Canadian becoming the first player born in the 2000s to break into the top 50, and his all-round attacking game and mature outlook on and off court had certainly caught the public eye.

Kohlschreiber lost his 12th match from 13 played against top-ranked opponents, but gave as good as he got against an out-of-sorts Djokovic, who needed five match points to go through.

"In a way it's good I got to spend two-and-a-half hours on the court in my first opening match in the clay court season", said Djokovic.

He described the performance as "rusty" after the match, and he'll certainly need to sharpen up his play and composure for the next round. "It's been a long hardcourt court season before the clay".

He will play Italian world number 96 Lorenzo Sonego in the next round.

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