Djokovic opens with win
Novak Djokovic registered his first victory since January as he made an impressive opening to his Rolex Monte-Carlo campaign
The former world No.1, with Marian Vajda in his corner once again, brushed Dusan Lajovic aside 6-0 6-1 in just 56 minutes to set up a second round meeting with Borna Coric, who defeated Julien Benneteau 6-2 6-3.
It was an encouraging display from Djokovic. He was neat and tidy from the baseline and his mind never wandered from the task – which has not always been the case in recent months.
Lajovic never quite found his range and although he created chances to break in three of Djokovic’s service games in the second set, his compatriot comprehensively outplayed him.
Djokovic, a two-time champion in the principality, is looking to end his 10-month wait for a title at his hometown tournament. His bid for silverware is unlikely to be easy though, as he could enocunter Dominic Thiem in the third round and Rafael Nadal in the last eight.
Kei Nishikori, who has made the trip to Monaco for the first time since 2012, began his clay-court season with a 4-6 6-2 6-1 success over Tomas Berdych.
Berdych, another local resident, capitulated after pocketing the first set. The Czech committed 46 unforced-errors as he meekly exited the tournament.
Despite a blister on his right hand, Milos Raonic overcame a slow start to defeat Lucas Catarina 3-6 6-2 6-3.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Andrey Rublev pipped Robin Haase 7-6(7) 2-6 7-5 while Roberto Bautista Agut eased beyond Peter Gojowczyk 6-4 6-3. Gilles Muller, Aljaz Bedene, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Pierre-Hugues Herbert were also winners on day two.
Last year’s finalist, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, enjoyed a comprehensive 6-3 6-3 win over an enraged Jared Donaldson.
The American vented his frustration in an aggressive manner towards umpire, Arnaut Gabas, after a decision wrongly went against him in the second set.
Donaldson apologised to his opponent for his outburst, however he did not shake the umpire’s hand at the conclusion of the match.