Novak Djokovic crashes out of Monte Carlo Masters after shock defeat to Dan Evans
World No 1 beaten in straight sets after 'an awful performance' while 11-time champion Nadal thrashes Dimitrov
World No 1 Novak Djokovic crashed out of the Monte Carlo Masters in the last 16 on Thursday following a shock 6-4, 7-5 defeat by Britain's Dan Evans.
Djokovic, the Monte Carlo champion in 2013 and 2015, was broken five times by the 33rd-ranked Evans and suffered his first loss of the year, having won the Australian Open for the ninth time in February.
Evans, who dumped out this month's Miami Open winner Hubert Hurkacz in the previous round, will play 11th seed David Goffin for a place in the semi-finals. Goffin beat US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev 6-4, 7-6 earlier in the day.
An out-of-sorts Djokovic produced an uncharacteristic 45 unforced errors against Evans, who hadn't won a tour-level match on clay since April 2017 before this week.
"To be honest this has been one of the worst matches from my side I can recall in the last few years," said Djokovic. "I felt awful on the court overall. Nothing worked. Just one of those days.
"It was just an awful performance. I can't take any positives away from this match. It definitely leaves a bitter feeling exiting the court this way.
"He deserved to win. He was a better player. He was just more focused I guess and played with a better quality in the decisive moments.
"He's really a nice player to watch, not a great player to play against. Lots of talent. He's very unpredictable with his shots. He dismantled my game."
It was Djokovic's first defeat of 2021 and Evans will now play in his first Masters Series quarter-final.
"It probably hasn't sunk in yet, I couldn't quite believe that last ball went over the net. It nearly didn't," Evans said.
"It’s clearly a big win. That's the biggest thing, you've got to believe you can win. Serving it out isn't easy, you've got all these things going through your head.
"He kept me waiting a little bit in the changing room at the start of the match. That got me a bit extra fired up.
"My game plan was to try to bring him forward and have him hit the ball low in the court. It was difficult to get to the net and I felt sometimes I was doing too much running.
"But I also thought I did a good job to get out of my service games. He had so many break points and didn't take them, so I was a little lucky there."
There were no such problems for 11-times champion Rafael Nadal who destoyed 14th seeed Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-1.
In other third-round play, Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced 6-3, 6-4 against Cristian Garin and will now face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina who beat beat wild card Lucas Pouille 6-2, 7-6. Fabio Fognini, the 15th seed, defeated Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 7-6.
Updated: April 15, 2021 07:22 PM