In a mouthwatering second-round clash in Monte Carlo, world no. 1 and a former champion Novak Djokovic defeated the young Italian gun Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 34 minutes. Competing for the first time since the ninth Australian Open title, Novak lost serve twice in the opener and raised his level in the second to topple the Miami Open finalist and grab the 366th Masters 1000 triumph.
Jannik got broken five times, unable to penetrate Novak's defense or impose his strokes. The opening set saw five breaks in ten games and a grueling battle that lasted for over 50 minutes. Sinner had an early advantage before world no.
1 broke him three times for 6-4, struggling a bit in the closing stages but still bringing it home for a massive boost. They both had 11 winners, with five unforced errors more on Sinner's tally, as he couldn't control his strokes against one of the finest defenders in the game.
Djokovic had the upper hand in the shortest and mid-range exchanges to emerge at the top and become a favorite to seal the deal in straight sets. Novak held at 15 with a volley winner in the opening game and reached three deuces on the return in the next one, without creating break chances.
Two games later, Novak's volley landed long, allowing Jannik to score a break and open a 2-1 advantage. Remaining calm, Novak pulled the break back a few minutes later to level the score at 2-2 and held at 30 to get back in front.
Novak Djokovic defeated Jannik Sinner in straight sets in an hour and 34 minutes.
The Serb used his incredible defense to secure another break and open a 4-2 lead following the Italian's forehand mistake, moving closer to the finish line.
Serving to stay in the set at 2-5, Jannik survived four deuces and reduced the deficit before stealing Novak's serve in game nine after four straight points and a forehand winner. Frustrated but not beaten, Djokovic earned the third break at 5-4 to finally clinch the opener.
A former champion closed the second set's opening game with a volley winner before Sinner produced an important hold with a service winner for 1-1. Novak grabbed the third game with a perfect drop shot winner and created a break chance in the next one, that Sinner denied with an unreturned serve.
The world's leading player delivered a much better point on the second break chance, drawing Sinner's errors to grab a break and open a 3-1 advantage. Serving at 4-2, Djokovic saved a break point with a powerful serve and delivered another to bring the game home and move closer to the finish line.
Returning in game eight, Novak created match points with an incredible backhand down the line winner, with Sinner saving both with brave hitting. Djokovic seized the third match point after Jannik's double fault to make a winning start.