Home Australia Djokovic beats De Minaur in ‘ugly’ Monte Carlo duel on clay

Djokovic beats De Minaur in ‘ugly’ Monte Carlo duel on clay

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Djokovic beats De Minaur in 'ugly' Monte Carlo duel on clay

Alex de Minaur has missed a rare chance to beat Novak Djokovic twice in the same season, putting in an error-strewn display just as the world number one looked vulnerable in the quarter-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters.

De Minaur, who had started his year by ending Djokovic’s 43-match winning streak in Australia at the United Cup, will be cursing himself for not being able to offer his ‘A game’ again by succumbing 7-5, 6 -4. for two long, grueling sets on Friday.

Djokovic was not at his best, looking a little rusty and tired in a physically demanding job on clay, but his big-match intelligence still proved too much and he set another record by reaching his 77th Masters semi-final. 1000, surpassing the mark he had shared with Rafael Nadal.

There were times when De Minaur, the first Australian to make it this far in Monte Carlo since Mark Philippoussis 25 years ago, had the big man struggling.

But after turning it into a brutal fight (in the first set, he had left Djokovic bent wearily with his hands on his knees after winning a grueling 34-stroke rally), de Minaur was disappointed with lapses of concentration at the end of the first set. . and regularly in the second.

At the end of their curiously irregular two-hour, four-minute battle, which included no fewer than seven breaks of serve in the second half alone, de Minaur told his conqueror at the net that it had been an “ugly” affair.

“In the second set I think so,” Djokovic agreed. “We didn’t really play at a high level, we made a lot of unforced errors, there were a lot of consecutive breaks of serve, but a win is a win and I’m happy to pass.”

“It was difficult for both of us. Alex is one of the fastest players on the tour, who recovers a lot of balls that normally 99 percent of the players on the tour don’t get, and he surprised me with some passes, especially in the second set. “

But no one has been able to beat Djokovic twice in a row in the same season since Dominic Thiem five years ago, and De Minaur was not up to the diabolical task, failing to become the first Australian semi-finalist in Monte Carlo since John Alexander. in 1979.

Two-time winner Djokovic, back in the Monte Carlo semi-finals for the first time since 2015, will face Casper Ruud in Saturday’s semi-finals in a rematch of last year’s French Open final after the Norwegian beat the Frenchman. Ugo Humbert 6-3, 4-6. 6-1.

Earlier, Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner overcame his first test of the week against Holger Rune to reach the semi-finals for the second year in a row and set up a mouth-watering battle with two-time champion Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Rune saved two match points en route to winning the second set tiebreaker, but Sinner responded to win 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 for his 25th win in 26 matches in 2024.

Tsitsipas easily reached the quarter-finals by defeating Karen Khachanov 6-4, 6-2, and looked in good form when he declared: “I would be lying if I said it didn’t bring back good memories stepping on this court.”


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