2021 in Review: Novak Djokovic eases past Jannik Sinner in Monte Carlo

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated the young Italian Jannik Sinner 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 34 minutes in a mouthwatering second-round clash in Monte Carlo. Competing for the first time since lifting the ninth Australian Open title, Novak lost serve twice in the opener and raised his level in the second to topple the Miami Open finalist and grab the 366th Masters 1000 triumph. Jannik got broken five times, unable to penetrate Novak’s defense or impose his strokes. The opening set saw five breaks in ten games and a grueling battle that lasted for over 50 minutes. They both had 11 winners, with five unforced errors more on Sinner’s tally, as he could not control his strokes against one of the finest defenders in the game. Novak held at 15 with a volley winner in the opening game and reached three deuces on the return in the next one, without creating break chances. Novak’s volley landed long two games later, allowing Jannik to score a break and open a 2-1 advantage. Remaining calm, the Serb pulled the break back a few minutes later to level the score at 2-2 and held at 30 to get back in front.

Novak Djokovic defeated Jannik Sinner in straight sets in an hour and 34 minutes.

Djokovic used his incredible defense to secure another break and open a 4-2 lead following the Italian’s forehand mistake. Serving to stay in the set at 2-5, Jannik survived four deuces and reduced the deficit before stealing Novak’s serve in game nine after four straight points and a forehand winner. Frustrated but not shaken, Djokovic earned the third break at 5-4 to clinch the opener. A former champion closed the second set’s opening game with a volley winner before Sinner produced an important hold with a service winner for 1-1. Novak grabbed the third game with a perfect drop shot winner and created a break chance in the next one, denied by Jannik’s unreturned serve.

The world’s leading player delivered a better point on the second break chance to draw Sinner’s errors and grab a break. Djokovic served at 4-2 and saved a break opportunity with a powerful serve before delivering another to bring the game home and move closer to the finish line. Returning in game eight, Novak created match points with an incredible backhand down the line winner, and Sinner saved both with brave hitting. Novak seized the third match point after Jannik’s double fault to make a winning start and secure the first triumph since February.

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