Novak Djokovic rues rushing injury comeback after winning start in Monte Carlo

17 April, 2018, 18:40 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Rafael Nadal could face Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals next week

The 31-year-old won the Monte Carlo Masters last year during an incredible clay season that cemented his spot as the world's number one player. "He's very good in the Masters 1000s now", said Benneteau, when asked about Coric. "Hope I get more confidence and do well [at] these five tournaments on clay".

But practising in Monte Carlo yesterday, Djokovic looked a man on a mission, determined to put behind him a rocky few months and make again permanent the occasional flashes of brilliance he has shown on-court so far this year.

Maintaining that Monday's win is a "great start" to the ongoing clay-court tournament, the two-time champion also expressed delight at joining hands with Marian Vajda, almost an year after parting ways with his long-time coach.

The Serb saw the beginning of the 2018 season disrupted by his long-term elbow injury, which reared its ugly head during his fourth-round exit to Hyeon Chung, before undergoing a 'small medical intervention and subsequently losing back-to-back opening matches at Indian Wells and Miami to Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel and France's Benoit Paire.

Lajovic, ranked 93 in the world, offered resistance in the second set to level at 1-1 but failed to capitalise on a break point as the 12-time grand slam victor roared back to book a second round meeting with Borna Coric of Croatia. Herbert won the Monte Carlo doubles title with Nicolas Mahut in 2016. "But I'm looking ahead".

Elsewhere, Japan's Kei Nishikori also advanced to the second round after coming from a set down to defeat zech 12th seed Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. He broke the Czech's serve six times and dropped his own twice. "I had some good days of practice here, playing some good sets", Nadal said this week.

Nishikori, like Djokovic, needs time on court after only recently returning from a torn tendon in his right wrist. That injury ruled him out of the U.S. Open then the Australian Open.

Other winners included Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, Andrey Rublev of Russian Federation, and Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain.

Bautista Agut defeated German Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-3; Raonic outlasted wild card Lucas Catarina of Monaco 3-6, 6-2, 6-3; and Ramos-Vinolas recorded a 6-3, 6-3 victory over American Jared Donaldson. Donaldson ranted at the chair umpire over a line call and then squared up to him as he continued to argue.

The 28-year-old is unseeded as his ranking has slipped to 39 in the world due to injury.


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