Published On: Fri, Apr 12th, 2024

Novak Djokovic struggles past De Minaur to get revenge in rollercoaster Monte Carlo match | Tennis | Sport

Novak Djokovic got revenge over Alex De Minaur to book his place in the semi-final of the Monte-Carlo Masters in a rollercoaster match that saw both men struggle to hold serve. The world No. 1 survived 7-5 6-4 to earn his best result at the tournament since 2015, ending a nine-year wait to get beyond the quarters. 

Djokovic was back in the quarter-final in Monte Carlo for the first time since 2019. The top seed had an opportunity to avenge his defeat to De Minaur after losing to the world No. 11 in the United Cup at the start of the year.

Both men saved a couple of break points in their opening service games and there was nothing separating them throughout the first set as Djokovic was heard shouting over to his box halfway through. The Australian saved a set point before blowing a break point chance of his own and he quickly had his back up against the wall again.

De Minaur saved two more set points before he finally succumbed to the world No. 1, sending the ball short to gift Djokovic a close, 77-minute opening set 7-5. The two-time former champion left the court for a break to change his clothes on what was a warm day in Monaco.

Djokovic appeared to be on his way to victory when another De Minaur error gave him the break early in the second. But the set turned into a rollercoaster as the 36-year-old was visibly struggled and made two crucial mistakes to immediately relinquish his advantage – sending the ball into the net before hitting it long.

There were three more successive breaks as both men continued to spray errors off their rackets. Even though he found himself two games from the semi-final, Djokovic continued to double over in between points, clearly struggling with the physicality of the match.

De Minaur got the sixth break in a row as Djokovic blew a 40-15 lead, this time putting the ball in the net. The world No. 11 finally ended the run of breaks as he held to level things at 4-4. Djokovic responded with a love-hold but he still appeared frustrated with his form.

The top seed managed to get the job done when he secured the eighth and final break of the match to book his spot in the semi-final. He finished the tough match with 26 unforced errors.

It’s a milestone result for Djokovic, who hasn’t made it this far in Monte Carlo since he lifted the trophy for the second time in 2015. At the age of 36, he is now the oldest semi-finalist in the tournament’s history.

And the Serb broke a record with his victory, as he now has the most Masters 1000 semi-finals in history with 77, surpassing Rafael Nadal‘s tally of 76. Djokovic will now face either Casper Ruud or Ugo Humbert for a spot in the final.

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