Djokovic survives Kohlschreiber test in Monte Carlo

Published by AP/Tennismash

SERVING IT UP: Novak Djokovic in action against Philipp Kohlschreiber in Monte Carlo; Getty Images
After a loss to Philipp Kohlschreiber last month, world No.1 Novak Djokovic gets revenge in the Monte Carlo second round.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic struggled with his serve at times, but managed to reach the third round of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo with a scrappy 6-3 4-6 6-4 win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Djokovic double-faulted eight times and needed five match points to beat Kohlschreiber, who lost eight of their previous 10 matches but secured a rare win in the third round at Indian Wells last month.

The German caused problems again for the top-ranked Djokovic in an error-strewn match, which featured eight straight breaks of serve from when Kohlschreiber led 2-1 in the second set.

Midway through that, two-time Monte Carlo champion Djokovic needed treatment on his right thumb. He appeared to hurt it while sliding at the baseline during the fifth game.

“We both made a lot of unforced errors, it was not the prettiest match,” Djokovic said. “It was pretty rusty, but a win is a win.”

After Kohlschreiber dropped serve at the start of the deciding set – the eighth straight service break – Djokovic saved break points before holding for 2-0.

The 15-time Grand Slam champion, who will aim to win a fourth straight major when the French Open starts next month, then upped his level to secure his 850th tour-level win.

He held to love for 4-2 and saved a break point to go 5-3 up, forcing his 35-year-old German opponent to serve to stay in the match.

Kohlschreiber saved a first match point at 30-40 with a sublime drop shot and held.

Serving for the match, Djokovic fluffed another three match points. After finally sealing the victory when Kohlschreiber’s return landed long, he whacked the ball away in frustration and then whipped another one up into the crowd.

He next faces the winner of a second-round match between American Taylor Fritz and Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

In other second-round play, Argentine Guido Pella downed seventh-seeded Marin Cilic 6-3 5-7 6-1, breaking the imposing Croatian’s serve eight times.

Former French Open champion Stan Wawrinka exited at the hands of Italy’s Marco Cecchinato, while Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego upset eighth-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov.

Ninth seed Borna Coric survived a three hour, 29 minute marathon with Spanish wildcard Jaume Munar – saving a match point to win 6-7(3) 7-6(7) 6-4.

In remaining first-round matches, 18-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime won 7-5 7-6(5) against Juan Ignacio Londero and next faces world No. 3 Alexander Zverev.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal, who is seeking a record-extending 12th title, is in second-round action on Wednesday against Spanish countryman Roberto Bautista Agut.

NEWS: Bautista Agut sets up Nadal showdown

Nadal has not played since pulling out with a right knee injury ahead of his Indian Wells semifinal against Roger Federer.

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