Published: Thu, April 18, 2019
Sport | By

Grigor Dimitrov does the split at Monte-Carlo Masters

Grigor Dimitrov does the split at Monte-Carlo Masters

"I've been training well but haven't been able to take that into matches".

Two-time champion Novak Djokovic struggled with his serve at times but reached the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters with a scrappy 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber on Tuesday.

After the match Djokovic explained away his outburst as an expression of frustration due to his poor day on serve.

Elsewhere, Alexander Zverev beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in a battle of young talents, Stefano Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev set up the next chapter of their rivalry and Taylor Fritz continued his stellar play, earning himself a date with Novak Djokovic. The Japanese player lost to the Spaniard in the last year's Monte Carlo final and he will try to look for revenge again over the 11-time tournament champion.

Rafael Nadal started his clay-court campaign in dominant fashion on Wednesday, beating compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut at the Monte Carlo Masters. What I need is to play matches, spend more hours on court, and of course the victories help.

It is the same opponent which knocked the world No 1 out of the Indian Wells third round last month. I am happy to be back on clay.

Pella, who won his first career match at the event in the first round on Sunday, emerged a victor as he played on the idyllic centre court for the first time. Nadal said: "This has always been a very special place for me".


Kohlschreiber tested Djokovic but was unable to make his opportunities count as the Serb saved 12 of the 16 break points he faced.

Describing it as a "rusty" first outing on the European clay, he could easily have lost against someone more ruthless than the 35 year-old German, who only managed to convert four of his sixteen break points.

"This is the first time this season I've felt really healthy", said the 21-year-old.

In an interview, Kei Nishikori praised Nadal's clay-court skills.

Medvedev has also beaten Tsitsipas on all three of their meetings (seven sets to three) although all were played on hard courts (two outdoor and one indoor), and the match-up today is rather different in the anticipated conditions.

In some of the other competitive-looking matches today, my model also indicated very slight value on Guido Pella, at [2.40] against Marco Cecchinato, and the Brit, Cameron Norrie, who is [2.48] against the Italian prospect, Lorenzo Sonego.

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