Thursday, 14 April 2016

Novak's shock Monte Carlo exit

Monte Carlo, the first clay court Masters event for 2016 has provided the biggest upset of the year and offered evidence that Novak Djokovic may actually be human. The world's number one was defeated in his first match by tall 55th ranked Czech player Jiri Vesely, who had won through his first round while Novak had a bye.

Djokovic began slowly and while losing the first set, appeared on track with a swift 6-2 reply.  However Vesely played a great third set, competing on equal terms with the top seed and breaking the Serb serve twice to achieve his greatest win yet 6-4 2-6 6-4.

The tennis world is in shock, but don't expect too many repeats of this.  The streak which Djokovic was riding had to end, and clay is the surface that tends to create more even clashes and more surprises.  Novak's loss at this point of the clay court season is better than if he had waited till Roland Garros, but it does open up more discussion about chances for this year's French Open title.

Other early results have been rather pedestrian compared to the Novak shock but Tomas Berdych was another high profile figure to depart after his first match. His hopes were dashed by Damir Dzumhur, the player from Bosnia and Herzegovina, ranked 99 who had knocked out Rafa Nadal in Miami.

Richard Gasquet also fell - to fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille, another nuisance lower ranked player who had also caused damage to a top Spanish seed in Miami, dismissing David Ferrer on that occasion.

Murray, Nadal and Federer progressed to the third round, and the romantics are already preparing for a Nadal / Federer final.

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