For the second year in a row, Novak Djokovic failed to reach the Monte Carlo quarterfinals after losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Serb was far from his best after playing only his fourth game of the season, hoping for a better run at home in Belgrade next week.
A year ago, Novak knocked on the starting gate in the third round of Monte Carlo, falling to Daniel Evans 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and six minutes. The Briton came to Monte Carlo with four ATP wins in his career and none since 2017!
Against all odds, he secured three victories in the Principality to find himself in the quarterfinals. Novak played well against Jannik Sinner in the second round, and that was not the case a day later. The Serbian struggled with the conditions and the opponent's slices and changes of pace to suffer the first loss of the season.
Djokovic fired 28 winners and 45 unforced errors, struggling to find momentum and spraying too many errors from his backhand wing. Daniel played better in middle-distance rallies and withstood all efforts to outplay Novak in straight sets and celebrate the most notable victory at age 30.
The Brit repelled seven of ten break chances and stole the Serb's serve five times from seven chances. Daniel offered better tennis in the crucial moments to take down the most formidable opponent when it comes to mental toughness.
Evans kept her cool after losing serve in the first set and came back from 3-0 down in the second set to cross the finish line without playing a decider.
Novak didn’t have a long run in Monte Carlo
Marc Rosset discussed Novak Djokovic's defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the 2022 Monte-Carlo Masters.
The Swiss said the Serb's defeat highlighted the fact that returning from a long absence was difficult even for the cream of the crop. "He had a match somewhat identical to that experienced by Stan [Wawrinka], namely that he collapsed in the 3rd set.
'Nole' was "crimson" late in the game against Davidovich Fokina," Rosset said. "It's rare with him! It also demonstrates that nothing is done with a snap of the fingers. But I think he will be well on his feet at Roland-Garros, because if he wants to, he can now play every week from here to Paris," Rosset continued.
"He is no longer in uncertainty, when he did not know which tournament he could participate in, when he could not put the same intensity in training. There, everything will go back in the right direction for him."