Djokovic extends 2021 record to 10-0
Any early concerns that Novak Djokovic not being up to scratch after almost two months off have been put to bed with an impressive and well controlled 6-4 6-2 win over Jannik Sinner to extend his winning run this year to ten wins and zero defeats.
I liked what Sinner brought to the match, early on we saw his forehand really push back the Serb and he got the first break of serve in the match. The break didn’t last long as we began to see the brick wall like defence from Djokovic as well as his drop shot / lob combo and grew into the match. Djokovic was broken at 5-3 as Sinner got back onto serve but then a wayward backhand sealed the set for Djokovic who went onto dominate the remainder of the match.
The win means that Djokovic has for the sixth time in his career won his first 10 matches of the year and will look to extend that run to 11 on Thursday as he plays Britain’s Dan Evans
Dan Evans topples Miami champion Hurkacz
Dan Evans had only played in Monte-Carlo back in 2017 and left without a win, now the Brit is into the third round of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career following two impressive wins.
The Brit’s opening round match was against Dusan Lajovic on Monday and he really impressed winning 6-3 6-7 (11-13) 6-2 against the Serb who was runner-up last time around in 2019.
Today we saw Dan make even bigger strides with a really solid and controlled performance recent Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz winning 6-4 6-1 and stopping a small rot. I do think Dan has played well this year and he won a title in Melbourne but since then and before this week has won one of his last six but has performed well against in-form players.
Dan hasn’t won against a top 10 opponent since he defeated John Isner in Delray Beach, how much pressure can he put Novak Djokovic on Thursday?
Nadal begins hunt for Title No.12
Rafael Nadal in 17 appearances at the Monte-Carlo Masters has never lost his first match, has only ever dropped one set in his match (against Kyle Edmund in 2017) and has now won his 72nd match out of 77 in Monte-Carlo with a 6-1 6-2 win over Federico Delbonis.
Nadal was in a similar situation to Djokovic having not played since Melbourne where the Spaniard lost from two sets up against Tsitsipas in the final eight. There were rumours that we would see Nadal in Dubai, Acapulco or Miami but injury ruled him out.
The level from Nadal against Delbonis was a joke, the way he ran the show without playing for some time is absolutely breathtaking to watch him in full flow. Next up on Wednesday is Grigor Dimitrov, can the Bulgarian cause an upset? It would take something special.
Casper Ruud’s biggest win?
A very good win for Casper Ruud who hasn’t dropped a set this week and has recorded only his second top ten win, both on which on clay, the first against Berrettini last year in Rome and now 6-3 6-3 against Diego Schwartzman.
I do like what Casper brings to the court, I think the 22 year old has improved a lot within the last couple of years it is now just looking for consistency. The first set did feel a little messy from both, there is still some work to do behind Ruud’s backhand but his serve lands well and he does like to do a lot of his talking via his forehand.
His next opponent will be a tricky opponent in Pablo Carreno Busta. The Spaniard is a very good all round player and impresses on clay and hard courts and at times doesn’t get the recognition and respect he deserves.
Who else won?
Lucas Pouille who I remember watching on debut in Monte-Carlo back in 2015 is playing his biggest tournament of the year and going well with a three sets win over Alexei Popyrin.
Roberto Bautista Agut, David Goffin, Cristian Garin, Andrey Rublev and Grigor Dimitrov were amongst those who won in straight sets on Wednesday as well.