Djokovic puts up his ‘best performance of the year’ to clinch a showdown with Murray.
Top seed Novak Djokovic highlighted his straight-sets first-round triumph over Gael Monfils in Madrid on Tuesday as his “best performance of the year,” as he lined up a meeting with Andy Murray.
With a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Monfils at the Caja Magica, the 20-time major winner ensured he would retain his number one position for at least another week.
Djokovic, who had a 17-0 head-to-head record against the Frenchman entering the tournament, needs a win in their second round encounter to avoid losing the top spot to second-placed Daniil Medvedev.
“I would definitely rank that as the best performance of the year.” “I felt pretty well on the court,” Djokovic remarked.
“I’m extremely thrilled, because up until today, you know, I wasn’t playing my best tennis in the few events that I played this year, and I was still sort of finding my rhythm, finding my groove.”
After not participating much this season, the three-time Madrid winner is regaining his stride, but he came in the Spanish capital coming off a runner-up finish at his home event in Belgrade.
The Serb saved three break points in his opening two service games before taking over the match from Monfils and taking a one-set lead in 47 minutes.
Djokovic, a 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 winner over Canadian 14th seed Denis Shapovalov, had to save two break points when he served for the match before booking a last-16 meeting with Murray.
It will be Djokovic and Murray’s first match since the Doha final in January 2017.
“In theory, I should have no chance in the match because he’s obviously the world number one and I’m playing with a metal hip,” Murray, who is 11-25 versus Djokovic in his career, said.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for me to assess my game and play against him again.” We’ve had so many clashes all through the years in some of the world’s largest championships.”
Carlos Alcaraz succeeds in his debut match as a top-10 player, defeating Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-5 in Madrid.
The Spanish teen phenomenon, who has a joint ATP-leading three titles this season, extended his victory streak to six matches after capturing the trophy in Barcelona ten days ago.
The seventh-seeded Alcaraz, who turns 19 on Thursday, will face Cameron Norrie or John Isner in the round of 16 and might face his countryman Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.
– Rublev survives, Raducanu is eliminated –
Sixth seed Andrey Rublev had to come back from a 3-0 deficit in the final to defeat the British wildcard. Draper, Jack 2-6, 6-4, and 7-5.
The Russian world number eight, who defeated Djokovic in the final of the Belgrade Open last week, dropped service twice in the first set and squandered an early lead in the second before edging over the left-handed Draper, who is ranked 121 in the world and was making his ATP clay-court debut in Madrid.
Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine outlasted US Open winner Emma Raducanu 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA 1000 event for the first time.
The 37th-ranked Kalinina knocked out a Grand Slam champion for the third time in a row, following up wins over Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza with a two-hour 18-minute victory against Raducanu.
“I want to give credit to Emma because I think we both performed really well,” said Kalinina, who makes her Madrid debut this week.
Meanwhile, former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu was defeated 7-5, 6-1 by American 12th seed Jessica Pegula.
Andreescu served the first set but was broken. She then got a nosebleed during the 6-5 changeover. In game 12, the Canadian saved four set points on her serve but stumbled on the fifth, allowing Pegula to take the lead.
Despite a rain delay in the second set, Pegula won in under two hours and advanced to the quarter-finals against home favourite Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Sorribes Tormo became the fourth Spanish woman to reach the final eight at the Madrid Open, overcoming a difficult draw that saw her beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Naomi Osaka before defeating Daria Kasatkina 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 on Tuesday.
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