Sunday, February 25, 2024

Grief-stricken Djokovic into Monte Carlo quarters

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MONACO:Novak Djokovic played just hours after learning about the death of his grandfather and defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 Thursday to reach the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals.

After clinching victory on his first match point, the top-ranked Djokovic crouched over with his hands on his knees as Dolgopolov applauded him at the net.

Djokovic then appeared to wipe away tears with his forearm before pointing with both hands to the sky as he stood on center court for a few moments.

Djokovic did not attend the usual post-match news conference, with the ATP saying he was too distressed.

”He lost his grandfather today just before the match, and it was very hard for him to play,” the ATP said in a statement. ”After he won, he just felt totally exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally.”

Meanwhile, Andy Murray’s apparent jinx on opponents continued on Thursday at the Monte Carlo Masters, with the third seed advancing 6-5 into the quarterfinals as Frenchman Julien Benneteau went down with an ankle injury.

Murray got a rare two walkovers last month in Miami, when Canadian Milos Raonic was injured before their third-round encounter and Rafael Nadal was unable to play their semifinal five days later due to the knee problems which continue to haunt him.

Murray was fighting through a lengthy first set with the number 31 Frenchman which was nearing the 90-minute mark, when Benneteau took a tumble, rolling his right ankle.

Fourth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeated No. 13 Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (7), 6-2, after twice coming off for rain delays. (Agencies)

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