Goffin Scores His Biggest Win Yet Over Djokovic in Monte Carlo

Congrats to Goffin who scored his first win over a top-three player today when he defeated Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in a very entertaining match in Monte Carlo. Both players looked like they would win at different stages of the match which I always think is a prerequisite for a high-quality match.

Goffin took the early initiative with a pretty flawless first set. Then the third game of the second set was a big game where Djokovic was 15-40 down on his serve facing two breaks points. He did very well to hold on to his serve after which he was a transformed player.

Playing like the Djokovic of old, he won the second set and went a break up in the third. At this stage, you felt like Djokovic would be hard to stop which makes Goffin’s come back so good. He broke back at 3-4 with one of those perfectly placed backhand down-the-line winners which is a trademark shot for Goffin.

With Djokovic serving at 5-6, he was clutch as usual by saving five match points and Goffin had to paint the baseline with a groundstroke to eventually force Djokovic into error and get the win.

So if you are Djokovic you can’t really feel bad about the loss. It will hurt because he wanted to play Nadal and win the tournament but he didn’t lose the match. Goffin won it with superb tennis instead.

I think Djokovic did very well to get into a winning position after Goffin looked early on like he may get the job done in straight sets. I think he also tired at the end of the third set after a pretty brutal first week on clay.

There was a point at 5-6 and deuce where it was especially noticeable. It was another brutal baseline rally where Djokovic made some great defensive plays and got into a good position but hit a regulation forehand long out of sheer exhaustion.

It’s not really surprising after his third consecutive three-set match which included many brutal baseline rallies so there is no reason to be discouraged by this loss. If he was fresher he would probably have gotten the win and faced Nadal in the semis.

But maybe it is better this way because facing Nadal who looks to be close to his best again when he is tired could have cost him. At least his seven-match winning streak against one of his big rivals is still intact and if he faces him later in the clay court season he will have a better shot.

Djokovic looked extremely determined either way and gave it his all which is a good sign. He just ran out of steam in the end but given what has happened so far this year I think this week was as good as he could have hoped for.

He spent a lot of time on the court and got two important wins. It’s a shame we won’t have the Djokodal semi-final but if Djokovic keeps this up we will surely see them facing each other on clay soon.

Next for Djokovic is Madrid which gives him some more time to rest his elbow and I think with this start he could be in top form come the French Open. All in all, I think it was a very encouraging start to the clay court season and Djokovic fans have reason to have renewed hope.

  • Elsewhere in the Draw

It was nice to see Ramos-Vinolas continue his good form and make his first Masters semis by defeating Cilic 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-2. He now plays Pouille who defeated Cuevas in another three-setter 6-0, 3-6, 7-5.

Nadal defeated Schwartzman 6-4, 6-4. I just saw the first game where Schwarzman broke Nadal to love after which Nadal must have played well to win by that scoreline. I think Nadal will win the title now with relative ease.

It will be a good start to the clay court season for him but we will see what happens in Madrid ad Rome. If Nadal wins Monte Carlo I don’t think it makes him a lock for the French Open title. Madrid and Rome is a better indicator of who will be the French Open favorite.

  • Highlights

Posted in Masters 1000, Monte Carlo.

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