World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to the third round at the Monte Carlo Masters. Novak faced world no. 198 Ivan Gakhov in his first match since February and scored a 7-6, 6-2 victory in an hour and 47 minutes. As was expected after a long break, Djokovic was far from his best, failing to impose his strokes in the opener and raising his level in the second set to emerge at the top.
Thus, Djokovic scored a Masters 1000 victory for the 19th straight season, kicking off the streak in Paris 2005! Gakhov played his first Masters 1000 tournament, qualifying for the main draw and defeating Mackenzie McDonald in the first round for his first ATP victory.
The Russian had nothing to lose against his idol today, embracing bold and aggressive tennis and keeping the points on his racquet. Gakhov broke Djokovic once in the opener and pushed him to the limits for 70 minutes, changing the pace with well-constructed attacks and booming serves.
Novak Djokovic defeated Ivan Gakhov in the Monte Carlo second round.
Despite not feeling at his best, Novak prevailed and broke the rival’s resistance in the second set to kick off the title chase. The Serb secured the first set in the tie break, controlling the pace and gaining a boost ahead of the second set.
Novak’s serve worked like a charm in the encounter’s second part, producing one good hold after another and keeping the pressure on the other side. Ivan failed to follow that pace, getting broken in games five and seven to end his run in the second round after a valiant effort.
World no. 1 served for the victory at 5-2 and landed a forehand winner at 15-30. Novak attacked with a forehand for a match point and squandered it to keep the rival alive. Djokovic netted a forehand and faced a break point, and Gakhov missed a forehand. Novak earned the second match point and seized it with a powerful serve to emerge at the top.