World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the reigning champion on the clay courts of Monte Carlo, was ousted 4-6, 6-2, 4-6 by Jiri Vesely today. The 22-year-old Czech ace, who is part of the country’s Davis Cup squad, took the biggest upset of the tournament in the second round.
As the top seed, Djokovic had a first-round bye, and with Roger Federer in the same half as him, was widely expected to be a finalist at the event. However, he was really slow off the mark in the match today, struggling to hold serve in the opening set. He conceded four break points and was eventually broken decisively in the ninth game, and he failed to earn any break point himself in the set.
While the World No. 1 recovered in the second set to break Vesely twice and take the set 6-2, he couldn't hold off the 22-year-old lefty in the decider. He was broken in the very first game after two uncharacteristic unforced errors, and although he broke back immediately, his inconsistency off the ground continued.
Djokovic was broken again in the third game of the third set, and he never recovered from that setback. He did save a match point while serving at 3-5, but Vesely held his nerve admirably in the next game, serving out the match to 15.
Today’s match marked the first time the Serb and the Czech faced each other; it is now the young Vesely who leads their head-to-head record 1-0.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, who also had first round byes, took easy victories in their own first matches.
Federer defeated 38th-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain in straight sets – taking a 6-3, 6-4 victory in 75 minutes. Murray, meanwhile, was slightly taxed by French ace Pierre-Hugues Herbert, whom he defeated 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Rafael Nadal played and deafeted Briton Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-3 in his second round match.Published 13 Apr 2016, 20:42 IST