Novak Djokovic easily advances to the third round of the Monte-Carlo Masters

Novak Djokovic did not suffer too much on his return to clay on Tuesday, en route to a clear 6-1, 6-2 victory against Roman Safiullin in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Tennis Masters.

Djokovic converted his second match point, after Safiullin’s return ended up in the net. Despite this convincing result, the Serb could have been a little less messy in his overall game – after all, he only converted five of his 19 break points during this match.

“I am very satisfied,” Djokovic nevertheless declared after his match. I managed to get break points, even in the games I conceded. It’s a very good first match this season on clay. [La transition vers la terre battue] has always been up and down. It was the same thing last year; I started the tournament well, before losing my second match. I hope I’ll be able to keep up the pace this time. I can train tomorrow [mercredi]and I hope that I will be able to offer the same performance [qu’aujourd’hui] in a few days. »

This was the first match of the no 1 in the world on clay since he won his 23e career Grand Slam title last year at the French Open tennis tournament. He then won the U.S. Open to bring his career tally to 24, but then lost in the semifinals to eventual Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner in January. Djokovic still covets a first title this season on the ATP circuit.

Djokovic, who will celebrate his 37the birthday next month, surpassed Switzerland’s Roger Federer on Sunday to become the oldesto 1 in the history of the ATP circuit.

“It’s good, it’s fantastic,” admitted Djokovic. I met [Rohan] Bopanna yesterday [lundi]who is the oldest player no 1 of double history. He pointed out to me that together we are 80 years old, although he contributes more than me to reaching 80. It’s funny.”

“I never believed, planned or dreamed, that I would be able to play at the highest level and be the no 1 in the world at the age of 37, he continued. All that work, and all that passion and obsession with maintaining my body, has paid off. I will be able to extend my career for years and years to come. »

Djokovic recently announced the end of his partnership with coach Goran Ivanisevic, which began in 2018 and which allowed him to collect half of his Grand Slam tournament titles.

Djokovic in full control

On Tuesday, under cloudy skies, Djokovic quickly converted two break points to take a 4-0 lead.

The Serbian seemed in full control of his drop shots, which allowed him to win the first set after only 33 minutes of play.

Djokovic will meet in the third round with Italian Lorenzo Musetti, who beat Frenchman Arthur Fils 6-3, 7-5.

Musetti, 24e world racket, committed only one direct error in the first set and six in total.

Djokovic is trying to triumph in Monte Carlo for the third time in his career, but the first since 2015. He has not made it past the quarter-finals of the Monaco tournament since that time, and could face defending champion Andrey Rublev , in the quarter-finals.

German Alexander Zverev, seeded fifth, defeated Austrian Sebastian Ofner 6-3, 6-4. Zverev, who took part in the final four at Roland Garros in 2022, will now face the winner of the duel between the two-time champion of the Monegasque tournament Stefanos Tsitsipas — 12e seeded — and Tomas Martin Etcheverry. They will face each other on Wednesday.

In the other first round matches on Tuesday, Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (no 10) and the Australian Alex De Minaur (no 11) won.

De Minaur easily defeated the 2014 Monte-Carlo Masters champion, Stanislas Wawrinka, 6-3, 6-0, while Hurkacz barely defeated Briton Jack Draper 6-4, 3-6 and 7-6 (2).

Wawrinka didn’t help his cause, finishing the match with 28 unforced errors.

Hurkacz hit 31 winners, but made almost as many unforced errors, with 28. In the victory, the Pole won 49% of the match points.

Sebastian Korda, Roberto Bautista Agut, Miomir Kecmanovic and Zhang Zhizhen also continued in the second round.

Sinner, the second seed, will face Korda on Wednesday. Sinner is 22-1 with three titles so far in 2024, having recently won the Miami Open.

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