In Monte-Carlo, Djokovic and Sinner suffer but return to the semi-finals

Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner suffered on Friday but qualified for the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo, a first since his title in 2015 for the Serbian, a second in a row for the Italian.

“I haven’t had good results in this tournament for eight years: it’s the first time that I’ve won three matches in a row here for eight years,” the Serb immediately recalled after his very sluggish victory against the Australian Alex De Minaur (11e world) 7-5, 6-4.

“Neither of us played at a good level and it turned into a physical battle,” said the no 1 worldwide.

However, in this physical battle, he clearly experienced difficulties, clearly showing how much the heat weighed on him.

The statistics confirm his analysis of the quality of the match: Djokovic committed 26 unforced errors for 13 winning points and De Minaur 28 unforced errors for 19 winning points. And, in the second set, of the ten games played, seven ended in breaks: Djokovic kept his faceoff twice and De Minaur only once.


“I suffered, but I’m happy to have passed,” summed up Djokovic who, with this victory, set yet another record: he will play a 77 on Saturdaye semi-final in the Masters 1000, one better than Rafael Nadal and eleven better than Roger Federer. He already holds the record for victories (40) and finals (58) in this category of tournaments.

Winner in 2013 and 2015, Djokovic (36 years old) had not since gone beyond the quarter-finals, reached twice (2017, 2019). He will face the Norwegian Casper Ruud (10th) on Saturday.e). The finalist of Roland-Garros 2022 and 2023 put an end 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 to the fine run of Frenchman Ugo Humbert (15e) who had never won a single match on the Riviera.

At the bottom of the table, Jannik Sinner (2e) was manhandled by Holger Rune (7e), but ended up winning 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 in 2 hours 40 minutes.

“The match was more physical, there were more long rallies” than in the two previous matches, admitted Sinner, exempt from the first round, assuring that his feelings had been “better” during this quarter.

Last year, the Dane beat the Italian in the semi-finals. This time, Sinner confirmed that he was the man in form since the start of 2024 by signing a 25e victory in 26 matches.

But Rune almost stopped the machine. Until then a cold executioner of his opponents with rifle shots on the forehand and backhand to conclude well-constructed sequences, Sinner seemed surprisingly lacking in ammunition against the Dane.


Twice in the second set, he led 40-0 on Rune’s serve. But twice, lacking initiative, he let his opponent string together five points to maintain his service game.

And at 5-5, Rune put on his bad boy cape, as if to draw a superpower, by alienating the audience by multiplying hand gestures to stop the whistles.

The recipe may have allowed him to stay in contact and save two match points in the tie-break of the second set before equalizing at one set all, but Sinner did not completely fall into his trap.

“We can try to create a little chaos, there is no problem, I learned my lesson from last year,” commented the 22-year-old Italian in reference to Rune’s questionable behavior in the semi-finals. last year.

He therefore maintained his concentration and his seriousness until winning, but the ball hit hard towards the sky while going to shake his opponent’s hand testified to the relief of the Italian who is usually so closed to emotions.

His next opponent will be Stefanos Tsistipas (12e) who advances with great confidence in the table.

After two quick matches in the first two rounds and a very convincing victory against Alexander Zverev (5e) in the round of 16, he got rid of the Russian Karen Khachanov (17e) 6-4, 6-2.

Double winner in 2021 and 2022, the 25-year-old Greek lost in the quarterfinals last year.

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