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Djokovic Extends Monfils Dominance To Reach Cincinnati QFs

Serbian next meets home favourite Fritz


WEBWIRE

Nineteen Lexus ATP Head2Head meetings. Nineteen wins for Novak Djokovic against Gael Monfils.

The Serbian extended his dominance in the matchup into historic territory at the Western & Southern Open. Following his 6-3, 6-2 victory, Djokovic now owns the most wins without a defeat in any Lexus ATP Head2Head matchup breaking a tie with Rafael Nadal, who is 18-0 against Richard Gasquet.

It was kind of an evolution of both players over the past 15-plus years that weve been playing each other in different parts of the world, also in juniors, Djokovic said of their history. I think early on I struggled a lot with him, I think physically as well. When you play on of the most athletic guys on the Tour, you have to be ready, every ball comes back. A couple of points today, especially in the first set he showed his athleticism.

After a second-set retirement by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina handed Djokovic a win in his first match on American soil since 2021, the World No. 2 played two solid sets to dismiss Monfils, dominating the baseline rallies in a one-hour, eight-minute victory. With victory in his first completed match since he lost to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic remains on course for a potential rematch with the World No. 1 Spaniard in the title round.

Now 17-1 on hard courts this season, Djokovic is seeking his third Cincinnati title. His first Western & Southern Open crown in 2018 earned him a Career Golden Masters, completing his box set of trophies at the ATP Masters 1000. He repeated as champion in 2020, when the event was held in New York.

Monfils, who reached the Toronto quarter-finals last week, was bidding to make back-to-back runs to that stage at Masters 1000s for the first time since 2016 (Indian Wells, Miami). The Frenchman was also denied a second Top 4 win in as many weeks, following his upset of Stefanos Tsitsipas in Toronto.

Djokovic took over on the Cincinnati centre court from 3-3 in the first set. The Serbian capitalised on a loose service game from Monfils to break at love for 5-3, then moved through the gears to win eight straight games and build a 5-0 lead in set two. Monfils claimed his first break point of the night to avoid a bagel second set, but Djokovic made no mistake on his second attempt to serve out the win.

I just managed to hold my serve really comfortably. I think I was hitting the spots well, and just made him play, said Djokovic, who stressed the importance of serving well in the quick Cincinnati conditions. He made a few unforced errors at 4-3 in the first set to hand me the break. After that it was no looking back for me. I started to raise the level more and more, almost a flawless second set. I guess his game suits me. Its nice to see him back. We havent played for quite a few years. Its great to see him back playing at a high level.

Next up for Djokovic will be home favourite Taylor Fritz, who advanced to the quarters when Laslo Djere retired while trailing 0-5 in their Thursday meeting. The American is through to his second straight Cincinnati quarter-final and his 12th overall this season, including eight on hard courts. He will bring a 31-8 hard-court record this season into his seventh Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting with Djokovic, who has won all six of their previous encounters.


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