Novak Races Through To Last Eight
Novak Djokovic advanced to his ninth Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-final on Thursday, beating American Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-0.
The World No. 1, who claimed his 850th tour-level victory on Tuesday, converted six of 10 break points en route to a 68-minute win. Djokovic now owns 15 victories from 18 tour-level encounters this season.
The 31-year-old moves to within three wins of matching Rafael Nadal’s record haul of 33 ATP Masters 1000 trophies. Djokovic is bidding to capture his third crown at the Monte-Carlo Country Club after title runs in 2013 (d. Nadal) and 2015 (d. Berdych).
Djokovic will meet 10th seed Daniil Medvedev for a semi-final spot. Medvedev defeated #NextGenATP Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter-final. Djokovic owns a 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Medvedev, which includes a four-set victory against the Russian at the Australian Open in January. Medvedev was one of just two players at that tournament (also Shapovalov) who took a set from the Serbian.
“[Daniil] has improved his movement a lot, I think. Obviously his results are showing that he’s close to the Top 10 of the [ATP Rankings],” said Djokovic. “He’s definitely in the form of his life. He’s had a good tournament so far here, winning quite comfortably in the first two matches and then now against Tsitsipas today.
“We have never faced each other on clay. We have faced each other in a close four-setter in Australia this year… I have seen him play. I have practiced with him many times. I’m looking forward to it.”
With both Djokovic and Fritz battling windy conditions on Court Rainier III, the top seed claimed three consecutive service breaks to take the opening set after 39 minutes. The World No. 1 attacked Fritz’s backhand to jump into a 5-2 lead and, despite failing to serve out the set in the following game, wrapped up the opener after 39 minutes with varied depth on his returns.
Djokovic hit with depth and height on his forehand to push Fritz behind the baseline early in the second set, earning a 2-0 lead following a Fritz double fault. The Serbian opened the court with his forehand to move Fritz off the court for a double-break lead and converted his first match point after Fritz fired a backhand beyond the baseline.
“It was very challenging to play in these kind of conditions,” said Djokovic. “Taylor plays really quick and has a big serve and just flattens the ball. He doesn’t really have a clay-court game, but he has done well this tournament.
“Today we had five, six close games in the first set and I just managed to break his resistance mid-way in the first set. After that, obviously things went on my side and I felt more comfortable.”
Fritz was aiming to become the first American to reach the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo since Sam Querrey in 2008. Querrey defeated Carlos Moya, Andreas Seppi and Richard Gasquet to reach the last eight 11 years ago, before falling to Djokovic in straight sets.