Novak Djokovic shrugged off his shock Monte Carlo Masters exit yesterday, insisting he has plenty of time to whip his game into shape ahead of his assault on the French Open. The World No. 1 slumped to a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 defeat to Russia's Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals of a Masters event he has won on two occasions. The defeat also meant that the 15-time major winner has not made a semi-final since claiming a record seventh Australian Open title in January.
"The French Open is the ultimate goal on clay. It's expected in a way for me to peak right at that tournament, because that's what I'm aiming for," said Djokovic, who has swept the last three Grand Slams.
Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the quarter-final against Argentina's Guido Pella. Pic/AFPLong season
"This is only the first tournament on clay, and it's a long season. Let's see how it goes. "Maybe I'm lacking the consistency with the top results in the last couple of years in the best tournaments. But I've been playing my best at Grand Slams and that's what I intend to do." Djokovic, the 2013 and 2015 champion in Monte Carlo, praised 10th-seeded Medvedev. "I was up all three service games that I lost in the third set. I had game point but just some loose points on dropshots," he said.
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal had to battle to reach the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters for the 14th time yesterday as he beat Guido Pella of Argentina 7-6 (7/1), 6-3. A marathon opening set with eight breaks of serve took one hour, 20 minutes before Nadal won it in a tiebreaker.Rafa's fabulous record
He served for victory leading 5-2 in the second set only to drop serve again, but recovered to take the win as Pella double-faulted. The 11-time champion has not lost at the tournament since a 2015 semi-final defeat against Djokovic and he now stands 71-4 at the event. He will face either Borna Coric or Fabio Fognini in the final.
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