Resilient Djokovic battles past De Minaur to make semi-finals in Monte-Carlo

Novak Djokovic defeated Alex De Minaur 7-5, 6-4 on Friday afternoon. He’ll play the winner of the match between Frenchman Ugo Humbert, the No 14 seed, and Norwegian Casper Ruud, the No 8 seed, in the next round

Antoine Couvercelle/Panoramic
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters •Quarter-final • completed
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World No 1 Novak Djokovic produced an up and down performance but beat Australian Alex de Minaur, the No 11 seed, 7-5, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals at the Monte-Carlo Country Club on Friday afternoon.

The Serb was broken three times in a second set that contained six straight breaks of serve but Djokovic was the more consistent at the end as he set up a clash with Frenchman Ugo Humbert, the No 14 seed, or Norwegian Casper Ruud, the No 8 seed, next.

“He said at the net, that it was ugly, in the second set especially I don’t think we played at a high level, we made a lot of unforced errors and a lot of consecutive breaks of serve,” Djokovic said. “But a win is a win and I’m happy to go through.”

The victory put Djokovic into a record 77th Masters 1000 semi-final and into the last four in Monte-Carlo for the first time since 2015, the year he won the title for a second time.

“I’m very happy to be back in the semis,” he said. “It’s been a while. I love this tournament, I know the club really well, the last seven, eight years have been quite tough for me to win back to back matches here but here we are, another semis and I look forward to it.”

Djokovic looks fatigued but survives

The first set was high quality as De Mnaur, in his first Masters 1000 quarter-final on clay, made life difficult for the Serb, making him play one extra ball, sometimes two or three.

The pair forced each other to work extra hard and at times, even toward the end of the first set, Djokovic looked to be struggling physically.

In the second set, De Minaur retrieved a break three times as he levelled at 4-4 but a love service game put things right for Djokovic and he duly broke again to clinch victory.

The 36-year-old Djokovic beat Russian Roman Safiullin (6-1, 6-2) and Italian Lorenzo Musetti (7-5, 6-3) ahead of his victory.

Earlier in the tournament, De Minaur, ranked No 11, defeated Swiss wildcard Stan Wawrinka (6-3, 6-0), Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor (2-6, 6-2, 6-3) and Alexei Popyrin (6-3, 6-4).

Monte-Carlo Masters 1000, other last eight results (Monte-Carlo Country Club, clay, EUR 5.950.575, most recent results first):

  • Ugo Humbert vs. Casper Ruud
  • Jannik Sinner (2) beat Holger Rune (7): 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas (12) beat Karen Khachanov (15): 6-4, 6-2

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