Dominant Djokovic races past Lajovic in Monte Carlo

Dominant Djokovic races past Lajovic in Monte Carlo

The 12-time Grand Slam champion, with coach Marian Vajda back in Djokovic's corner after his recent split with Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek, eased to a 6-0, 6-1 win in only 56 minutes on a glorious Monday in the Principality. "I had injuries in my life, as you know, more than what I expected, but the good thing is that when I came back I was not afraid about what was going on".

Seeded nine, Djokovic, who is struggling to pick up the pace after an elbow injury, could face Nadal in the semi-finals although just getting a win under his belt would be a relief for the 30-year-old who triumphed in Monte Carlo in 2013 and 2015. "If I have to play tomorrow, I got to be ready tonight". "But I'm looking ahead".

Djokovic moved far more freely and was calm and composed throughout, teaching his countryman a lesson to set up a second-round encounter with Borna Coric.

The ninth seed from Serbia lost just three points on serve in the opening set and returned superbly in a commanding display, wrapping up his first victory since the Australian Open in January.

Over the course of the near one-hour match, Djokovic kept compatriot Lajovic guessing with his disguised forehand drop-shots and powerful down-the-line backhands that brought rapturous applause from the crowd at the show court. He has only ever played three matches at the tournament and incidentally, his last clash there was a three-set defeat to Berdych, who takes on the Japanese in the opening round next week.

He was playing close to his best tennis despite calling for a medical timeout for his troublesome wrist.

"It's not great but first match on clay, I'm expecting (a) little soreness", Nishikori said.

The 36-year-old is now on a five-match winning streak against the 16-time Grand Slam champion, though they haven't done battle on clay since 2013. "Hope I get more confidence and do well @ these five tournaments on clay".

Elsewhere, American Jared Donaldson launched into an angry tirade at umpire Arnaud Gabas while squaring up to the Frenchman over a line call during his defeat by Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

In 15 meetings on the surface, the 20-time major victor has just two wins to his name over the Spaniard - and the 31-year-old hinted that was part of his thinking when skipping the whole of the clay-court season.

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