Novak Djokovic sees off Jannik Sinner in ‘very good encounter’ as he stays unbeaten in 2021

ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic swinging

Novak Djokovic stretched his unbeaten run in 2021 to 10 matches as he held off rising star Jannik Sinner in his Monte-Carlo Masters opener.

Playing in his first match since winning the Australian Open in February, Djokovic was put to the test early on by the teenager, but eventually pulled off a 6-4, 6-2 victory in one hour and 34 minutes.

Sinner, who finished runner-up at the Miami Masters a fortnight ago, was in the ascendency early on as he broke in game three, but the world No 1 won the next four games as he broke twice to lead 5-2.

The Italian, though, drew level on serve with a second break in game nine only for Djokovic to claim a third break and take the set in 55 minutes.

The second set was more comfortable for the 18-time Grand Slam winner with breaks in game four and eight setting up the win.

“It feels great [to be back and] also playing in Monaco, where I reside,” Djokovic said. “I have used this club as a training base for almost 15 years, so it feels like playing at home.

“It was a very good encounter. I thought it was a great first match [and] a big challenge for me. Jannik is in form. He played the final [in] Miami and has been playing well. I just hung in there today and managed to find the right shots and the right game at the right time.”

Next up is British No 1 Dan Evans, who comfortably beat Miami Open champion and 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-1.

Meanwhile, ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut earned himself a third-round clash against Andrey Rublev with a 6-3, 6-4 win over American Tommy Paul.

Russian sixth seed Rublev also had a straightforward day at the office as he beat Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso 6-3, 6-2.

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