Djokovic struggles to beat Coric in 2nd round of Monte Carlo Masters

Earlier in the last-32 clash, Djokovic showcased a spirited performance as he had swept aside Borna Coric in straight sets 6-7 (2-7), 5-7 in two hours and 15 minutes.

Thiem is playing in his first tournament since suffering an ankle injury at Indian Wells last month.

Thiem was the victor when they met in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia and he will be hoping to channel that display and overcome the "King of Clay" as he attempts to secure a first ATP Masters 1000 title.

"I was 10 centimetres from being out of the tournament".

Had Djokovic won, he would have faced Rafael Nadal on Friday in the quarter-finals - and thus set up the first meeting between two members of tennis's elite group since Nadal lost to Roger Federer in October's Shanghai final. At 2/6, Thiem, dressed in all black on a hot day, struck his second double fault of the 60-minute first set. "But I'm looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV and then playing the victor on Thursday".

Goffin, a semifinalist past year, next plays Grigor Dimitrov after the fourth-seeded Bulgarian beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

That is the opinion of former French world No 5 Henri Leconte.

[ALSO LIKE] Thiem, well versed in long, lung-testing rallies on red dirt, saved one break point in his first service game, then played a patient game at 2-2, when Djokovic recovered from 15/40 only to hand the Austrian a break with a backhand error. But he came back yesterday, I think match point down, and had a tough one himself.

"All I (could) do was just fight and find a way to win, how doesn't really matter".

Grigor Dimitrov required three sets to get past Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6 6-3 6-4 and Richard Gasquet thwarted a sibling match-up in the quarter-finals by eliminating Mischa Zverev 6-2 7-5. Zherdev beat Luxembourg's Giles Muller 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

But Zverev, the world number four, bookended the second set with breaks of serve and easily ended the unseeded Muller's challenge in fading light to progress to a last-16 match against either Fabio Fognini or Jan-Lennard Struff. "For me, if you send a ball at the head of a ball boy, you're out", said Goffin.

Second-seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia, the Australian Open runner-up, had seven aces in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win against Fernando Verdasco.

After losing his serve to trail 4-1, Bautista Agut cleared a ball from the back of the court as a ball boy was sprinting across.

  • Angelo Rivera