We are approaching the last 16 in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and HelloMonaco is keeping a particularly close eye on Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas, both two time winners of the tournament in the past. The clay court magician and 11 time winner of the tournament Raphael Nadal, being absent due to injury, leaves a greater chance of this exciting possibility that we may have a three-time winner in 2023.
Djoko, of course, is completely unpredictable in the early stages of a tournament. He seems to like to tempt fate which he has just done against big-serving qualifier Gakhov in an exciting first set. Gakhov took Djokovic all the way to a tiebreak but ultimately lost 7-6. That’s a little too close for comfort for the Serbian ace.
But Djokovic then came alive and defied any naysayers about his form by dispelling any serious danger of a major upset. He won the second set comfortably 6-2 to set up his next challenge against Lorenzo Musetti. Are we going to see the same “dare-devil may care” performance again from Nolo. He better watch out as Musetti is on a tear winning sets to love.
And Stefanos Tsitsipas could well do with some help from Musetti to avoid having to face off against Djokovic. He lost to him in the Australian Open final and in the 2021 Roland-Garros final, when the Serb came back from two sets to love down to win 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
The pair have met a dozen times on tour, with Djokovic leading their series 10-2 and winning their last nine encounters. Both Tsitsipas’s wins have come on outdoor hard courts. Can he do it on clay is the question.
To win the Monte-Carlo title three times in a row, the second seed next awaits to deal with the powerful serve of Nicolas Jarry.
Tsitsipas’ Tuesday victory has stretched his Monte-Carlo winning streak to 11 matches following a third-round loss to Daniil Medvedev in 2019.
Which begs the question is Daniil Medvedev the one that will stop Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsisipas from winning their third trophy at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters?
The third seed showed he is in excellent form by defeating the powerful-serving Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-3, 6-2. The World No. 5 defended successfully against the only break point he faced and won 90 per cent (27/30) of points behind his first serve to clinch his 25th win in his past 26 big matches.
So Medvedev moves on to a third-round showdown against Alexander Zverev. The 13th seed earlier eased past Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4. It will be the 14th tour-level clash between Medvedev and Zverev, but the first on clay.
A match to watch!
Plenty of life and room for upsets left in this riveting tournament. Don’t count out Ruud and Rublev and definitely don’t count out Sinner.