Alejandro Davidovich Fokina recorded a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1 victory over top-seeded and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday in Monaco.
The loss was the second in as many matches for Djokovic, who was playing for the first time since being bounced by Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championship in February.
“This win is so special for me because I grew up watching Nole and I’m a big fan of his,” Davidovich Fokina said in his on-court interview. “I look at him every tournament, every match. Here in Monte Carlo, full of people, against the No. 1, I enjoyed every moment and I’m so happy.”
Davidovich Fokina broke Djokovic three times and benefited from 16 unforced errors by the Serb to win the first set.
The 46th-ranked Spaniard jumped out to an early lead in the second before Djokovic rallied to even the match at one set apiece.
Undaunted, Davidovich Fokina broke Djokovic three times in the deciding set to win the match in two hours and 54 minutes.
Djokovic was unable to defend his Australian Open title in January after he was deported from the country for not being vaccinated. He elected to bypass tournaments in Indian Wells (Calif.) and Miami because he couldn’t travel to the United States, however he was able to compete in Monaco because it lifted some COVID-19 restrictions last month.
“I always believed that I could come back and win the match, and I stayed there even though a lot of things were against me in terms of how I felt on the court. Game-wise, physically I was just far from my best,” Djokovic said. “So, of course, in those types of conditions and circumstances, then you have to really work two times more than you normally would. And again, I played a clay-court specialist. He had a match already on center court a few days ago.
“I expected this match to be (a) really tough match, (a) physical battle, and that’s what it was. Unfortunately I’m on the shorter end of the stick, and my week ends here.”
Also on Tuesday, third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece breezed to a 6-3, 6-0 win over Italian Fabio Fognini in a second-round match.
Also, 10th-seeded Taylor Fritz recorded a 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Lucas Catarina of Monaco and 16th-seeded Lorenzo Sonego of Italy cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ilya Ivashka of Belarus.
Other first-round winners included Laslo Djere of Serbia and Montenegro, Daniel Evans of Great Britain, Belgian David Goffin, Spaniard Pedro Martinez, Italian Lorenzo Musetti, Denmark’s Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune and Finland’s Emil Russuvuori.
–Field Level Media