Djokovic breezes through into second round
DTNext 2018-04-16 05:30:00
Novak Djokovic sent out a warning to his rivals on Monday in his first match since reuniting with Marian Vajda, his coach from June 2006 to May 2017.
The ninth seed, who resides in a seafront Monte-Carlo apartment, required just 22 minutes to wrap up the opener — finishing with a forehand winner down the line past qualifier Lajovic. The capacity 10,200-strong crowd were delighted when Lajovic won his first game for 1-1, with a smash winner, in a competitive second set. Djokovic saved break points at 1-1, 30/40 and at 3/1, 30/40.
The 30-year-old will now prepare to face Croatia’s Borna Coric, who broke a three-match losing streak at the Monte-Carlo Country Club in beating 36-year-old Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-3 in 65 minutes.
Djokovic, who could potentially meet top seed and 10-time champion Rafael Nadal in the third round, has a 31-9 record at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament. He lifted the trophy on Court Rainier III in 2013 (d. Nadal) and 2015 (d. Berdych).
Elsewhere, Russian Andrey Rublev denied Dutchman Robin Haase the 200th match win of his career early in the afternoon with a 7-6(7), 2-6, 7-5 win over two hours and 30 minutes.
Rublev saved four match points in the first set – one at 5-6, 30/40, then from 4/6 and 6/7 in the tie-break. The 20-year-old broke 2012 quarter-finalist Haase in a 20-point game and will next challenge fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem.