Novak Djokovic's masterclass return in Monte Carlo 2018

Novak Djokovic scored a dominant victory over Dusan Lajovic in Monte Carlo five years ago

by Jovica Ilic
Novak Djokovic's masterclass return in Monte Carlo 2018
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic missed the second part of the 2017 season due to an elbow injury. Novak made a slow start in 2018, experiencing early losses and a ranking drop. The Serb competed in the Masters 1000 round 1 in Monte Carlo for the first time since Cincinnati 2006!

Novak met fellow Serb Dusan Lajovic in the opening round in the Principality, scoring a dominant 6-0, 6-1 triumph in 56 minutes. It was Djokovic's fourth victory of the season, and everything worked fine for him. Novak dominated on serve and return, sealing the deal in under an hour and gaining a boost.

With Marian Vajda back in his box, we saw vintage Djokovic, who gathered all the elements together and left his opponent far behind. Novak grabbed almost 70% of the return points, turning them into five breaks and sailing over the top.

Djokovic controlled everything, covering the court nicely and hitting well from both wings.

Novak Djokovic claimed almost 70% of the retrun points vs. Dusan Lajovic.

Novak served at 62% and lost 13 points in seven service games.

He made more mistakes in the second set, fending off four break points in three games and keeping the pressure on the other side. Dusan served at 50% and dropped 24 out of 36 points in his games, holding only once. Novak led 12-5 in service winners, firing 17 winners from the field and leaving his rival on four.

Thus, Djokovic forged a 29-9 advantage in the direct points. Novak tamed his strokes more efficiently, staying on eight unforced errors and welcoming Dusan's 13. Lajovic hit 13 forced errors, and Djokovic stayed on six. Novak added 29 winners and 16 mistakes to his tally, playing flawless tennis and outshining Dusan's 9-27 ratio.

The more experienced Serb was the dominant figure in the longer points. He stroked well from both wings and built a fortress around his baseline zone. Also, Djokovic took ten out of 11 exchanges that reached the ninth shot, leaving Lajovic far behind in that segment.

Novak also shined in the mid-range exchanges between five and eight strokes, opening an 18-9 gap. Djokovic stayed rock-solid in the shortest rallies up to four strokes, creating a 28-15 lead and sealing the deal in style after outplaying his opponent in every segment.

Novak Djokovic Monte Carlo Dusan Lajovic