The 30-year-old Briton Daniel Evans came to Monte Carlo with four ATP victories on clay, none since 2017! Also, Daniel had four Masters 1000 triumphs before this event, way too low for a player of his ranking. Against all odds, the Briton will compete in the quarter-final in the Principality after claiming three victories, finding his best tennis on the dirt and stealing the headers on Thursday.
Daniel defeated a former Monte Carlo champion and world no. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and six minutes, performing his career's most impressive triumph and setting the quarter-final clash against David Goffin.
Novak played well against Jannik Sinner on Wednesday, and that wasn't the case in the next match, struggling with the conditions and the rival's slices and constant changes of pace to suffer the season's first loss after ten straight victories.
Djokovic finished the match with 28 winners and 45 unforced errors, struggling to find the timing and spraying too many mistakes from his usually strong backhand wing.
Daniel Evans stunned Novak Djokovic in straight sets in Monte Carlo.
Evans played better in the mid-range exchanges and endured all the efforts in the crucial moments to overpower Novak in straight sets and celebrate the most notable victory at 30.
Daniel fended off seven out of ten break chances and stole Novak's serve five times from seven opportunities, delivering better tennis when it mattered the most to topple the mentally strongest rival. Evans stayed calm at 4-4 in the opener and overcame a 3-0 deficit in set number two to find himself over the top.
Preparing for his match against Grigor Dimitrov, Nadal saw a couple of points from the Evans vs. Djokovic clash, praising the Briton and saying he played well. Also, Rafa stated that there's nothing wrong with losing a match here and there, as every player wants to beat those top-ranked contenders.
"Daniel Evans' victory over Novak Djokovic is probably his career-best triumph. I can only say bravo to him. I only saw a few points as I was preparing for my match, and Evans played well. He did a great job enduring challenging moments and playing solid tennis.
The fact is, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and I have been losing only a couple of matches for years now. It makes these surprises very special. That's also a part of tennis history; it is a normal thing when you lose, and that happened to Novak today.
The rivals want to beat you, and you have to be ready for that. Every week, only one player would win, with all the others leaving the event defeated," Rafael Nadal said.