ATP Monte Carlo: Novak Djokovic struggles but beats Alex de Minaur

Novak Djokovic will compete in his first Monte Carlo semi-final since 2015

by Jovica Ilic
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ATP Monte Carlo: Novak Djokovic struggles but beats Alex de Minaur
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic will compete in his eighth Monte Carlo semi-final, the first since 2015. Novak faced Alex de Minaur in the quarter-final and scored a 7-5, 6-4 victory under a boiling sun. He struggled physically but sealed the deal in straight sets for the second day in a row, preserving energy ahead of the next test.

Alex defeated Novak at the United Cup at the beginning of the season but could not repeat that on the slowest surface despite a great effort in the opener that lasted 66 minutes. De Minaur served at 42% and gave serve away five times from 11 chances offered to Djokovic.

Novak got broken three times in a row in the second set, staying composed and moving over the top with a fine performance on the return.

Novak Djokovic, Monte Carlo 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Aussie served at 37% in the first set, working hard to remain in touch and fending off five out of six break points.

The Serb denied all three break points and made a push in the closing stages of the set to avoid a tie break. Djokovic made a shaky start and faced two break points in the first game of the encounter. He denied them and closed the game after de Minaur's backhand error, avoiding an early setback.

Alex also worked hard behind the initial shot in game two, offering Novak two break points and denying them. De Minaur held after Djokovic's forehand error, locking the result at 1-1. They served well in the upcoming games, not playing the most incredible tennis but keeping the returners away from chances.

Alex served to stay in the set at 4-5 and squandered game points.

Novak Djokovic, Monte Carlo 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic took down Alex de Minaur after over two hours.

He faced a set point and denied it with a valiant forehand winner, holding and prolonging the action.

Djokovic struggled a bit on serve in the 11th game, encountering issues for the first time since game one. Novak defended a break point after Alex's loose forehand and brought the game home, keeping the pressure on the other side.

The Aussie struggled behind the initial shot again at 5-6, saving two set points before offering the Serb the third. De Minaur went for a loose drop shot, losing serve and propelling Djokovic 7-5 in front. Novak held at the beginning of the second set before they both lost the ground completely behind the initial shot.

Novak Djokovic, Monte Carlo 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

We witnessed five straight breaks, with Djokovic moving in front and de Minaur bouncing back! World no. 1 clinched his fourth break in a row in game six when his rival placed a backhand long, losing energy but hoping to recover ahead of his service game.

Djokovic had a great chance to secure the seventh game and move closer to the finish line, opening a 40-15 lead. However, Alex fought back and claimed four straight points thanks to Novak's wayward backhand, notching the sixth break in a row and reducing the deficit.

They finally held in games eight and nine, with de Minaur serving to stay in the match at 4-5. Djokovic notched his fourth break of the set, sealing the deal and securing a place in the semi-final.

Atp Monte Carlo Novak Djokovic Alex De Minaur
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