Thiem Tames Djokovic, Nadal Next In Monte Carlo; Raonic Injured Again
by Staff | April 19th, 2018, 6:14 pm
  • 102 Comments

The marquee showdown Thursday in Monte Carlo between 2-time champion Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic lived up to the billing with the Austrian again taking down the former World No. 1 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3.

The 2-hour, 29-minute affair looked Thiem’s way early as he was the aggressor early taking a quick 3-0 lead and then held set points at 5-3. But Djokovic clawed back and took a tight breaker.

Thiem got the upper hand again in the second, and this time held his form. And carried it over into the third over the Djokovic who just couldn’t find the mark on his shots.

It was Thiem’s second straight win over Djokovic after his stunner at the French last year.

“Every win is important, especially against such a great player as Novak,” said Thiem. “It’s the quarterfinals now, so it’s only getting tougher… It was important for my self-confidence, to know I’m physically 100 per cent again. It was a great win. Of course it’s important, but tomorrow is a new day.”

Djokovic, who was playing his first event after re-uniting with former coach Marian Vadja, stressed patience.

Ideally I’d want to be playing the way I played for so many years,” said Djokovic. “But that comes with time. I understand that it’s quite hard to play match after match on a very high level if I didn’t have too many matches behind me, if I had an injury, if I had an absence from the Tour for six months. All these things we have to take in consideration.

“Obviously patience is required, trust in the process, believing in myself, in my game, people around me. I really believe that if I continue doing what I’m doing so far, believing in myself, I know eventually I’m going to get there. I’m going to get there.”

Next for Thiem is World No. 1 and King of Clay Rafael Nadal who blew out Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-2.

“It was a good victory – straight sets against a difficult opponent,” said Nadal. “I think I played little bit better than yesterday. My serve worked well and my forehand was better than yesterday.

Though he’s behind 5-2 in their series, Thiem was the only player to beat Nadal on clay last year.

“It’s the ultimate challenge for everybody, to play against him,” said Thiem of playing Rafa. “For sure tomorrow, I have to raise my level again. I think I’m able to do that. If you do so, I’m going to have chances tomorrow. If not, I’m out. It’s pretty easy… Of course, I would have liked to have faced him later in the tournament. But the draw was a little bit unlucky for me, especially. Hopefully for him, as well, tomorrow.”

Marin Cilic advanced without taking the court when his opponent, the oft-injured Milos Raonic, withdrew due to a right knee issue.

“It was difficult yesterday, early in the match, I rotated on my knee in an uncomfortable position and felt pain,” Raonic said. “I finished the match with some swelling and I thought through treatment it would be better, but I had more pain today. After consultation with the doctors, I needed to get down to the bottom of the issue and I was at risk to cause further pain. I will know more in the next few days.”

Cilic gets Kei Nishikori who had to go the distance to deny Andreas Seppi 6-0, 2-6, 6-3.

Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin were also winners, they’ll meet tomorrow.

Alexander Zverev began the day with a 3-set win over Jan Lennard Struff. He’ll next face Richard Gasquet who just beat his brother, Mischa.

FRIDAY MONTE CARLO SCHEDULE
COURT RAINIER III Starts At 11:00 Am
QF 4 Grigor Dimitrov VS 6 David Goffin
Followed By
QF 1 Rafael Nadal VS 5 Dominic Thiem
Followed By
QF Kei Nishikori VS 2 Marin Cilic
Followed By
QF Richard Gasquet VS 3 Alexander Zverev


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102 Comments for Thiem Tames Djokovic, Nadal Next In Monte Carlo; Raonic Injured Again

Czarlazar Says:

Djokovic has now apparently regained his love of tennis, reunited with Vajda, put Pepe to the side, etc. Which is all good. However, he will never get to the top of men’s tennis until he regains his physical strength by eating heartily again. His skinny vegan body is great for yoga but not for tennis. He has lost a lot of pace on his groundstrokes and won’t get it back by eating salads and savouring soups. He needs to gain 5 to 10 kg very soon, otherwise he might as well pack it in.


Van Persie Says:

Djokovic asked for Wcard from Barcelona and Budapest tournament directors, so he’s considering to play next week. We should know more today.


squirrel Says:

The macth between Nadal and Thiem will be epic! Hope you will enjoy it Willow, AM and other Rafans!


Willow Says:

Thanks Squirrel i hope i get to see it before going to work, Thiem played really well against Novak so i hope Rafas ready, and to be honest i think Novak getting that first set was more down to Thiem choking when serving for the set ….


squirrel Says:

Really? Hmmm but I hope Novak is getting the confidence back, do you think he is on his way to his former champion self?
I hope you get to see it too! You start your work quite late I see, you work in shift? Good luck!


Willow Says:

Squirrel i do think Novak is on his way back, and i think he will be fine, i dont see him dominating the way he did before, but i still think he will win titles, i just dont think he has that aura of invincibility he had before, other players dont feel as intimidated, but thats just me, but we will see ….

As for Rafa i start work at 3 this afternoon, so i hope i get to see some of his match before i have to leave, hope its on soon lol ….


Willow Says:

Hooray ill get to see Rafa before work 11.30 am where i am ….


squirrel Says:

You will I think, hehe ;)


FedExpress Says:

Goffin choking


FedExpress Says:

after leading 5-1 Goffin its 5-5


FedExpress Says:

Is Dimitrov balding?


Daniel Says:

Third straight match Nadal opens breaking opponent, 2-0 already. Players are not able to even start leveled. On clay his break game is aqesome, he kees his level on serve game all year but his return game makes the difference.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Its still a successful tournament for Novak. He’s shown that he belongs in the top 20, at least. That’s a solid place to be. Hope he does play Barcelona, he needs matches.

Rafa rolling Thiem right now…


Willow Says:

Rafa is ruthless, showing Thiem no mercy at the moment ….


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Rafa looking brilliant. He’s playing his close-to-the-baseline game, and flattening his shots earlier in the rally. Very good signs, even with a few unforced errors creeping in.


squirrel Says:

Yeah Willow, not even close…and these commentators were talking about Thiem being the first player to beat both Djokovic and Nadal on the same clay court..ops


chofer Says:

Nadal playing falwless. duh.

What I’ve been saying about Dom here is showing, too. You cannot be serious being top 5, top 3 with just ONE kind of serve. Thiem knows nothing other than kicking it. No top spin, not slice. That’s it. Once you find the groove on the return, it’s over. 6-0

Of course, he’s more confident on clay. he’ll fight. But I don’t see how.


Markus Says:

Nadal should serve the current “second best” clay court player (commentators words, not mine) his second bagel for today.


chofer Says:

I mean, he’s not particular brillant on returns either (especially on his BH side), because other players, even Nadal with his weakest shot (the serve) has more variety.

I don’t see any tennis pundit, journalist or otherwise, aknowledging this glaring problem.


Daniel Says:

Wow, got out of subway and Nadal up 8-0 amd serve. Thiem is not fighting for the set or match anymore, he just wants to winna game now. He jas 2 more chances to wins a game on his serve, or as he was broken 4 times already maybe breaks Nadal😂


Willow Says:

If this were a boxing match it wouldve been stopped by now, maybe the Novak match took too match out of DT ….


chofer Says:

Having just one kind of serve only, when being pressured,leads to double faults, too. Which it showed, too.

Only thing Rafa needs is to avoid crosscourt changes to Dom’s FH. Otherwise, it looks very much like a bagel here.


chofer Says:

Willow

Indeed, Novak has this “talent” to eat up your legs. But that’s not excuse. Murray, at his best, can do the same.

And Thiem is the second favourite to win the French. You gotta be kidding me.


chofer Says:

Thiem will live and die on that kick serve. Nadal crosscourt to Thiem’s BH. Thiem loses the point. It’s so easy to play tactical against the Austrian. Even if Nadal loses ONE game here.

Thiem it’s an open book. Oh, he just won one! The Spaniard is so generous:)


Willow Says:

Chofer id like to see what Delpo has to offer on clay, Tennis Vagabond thinks he would be the only player thats a threat to Rafa on clay ?


Daniel Says:

After 15 straight games lost to Nadal (last year RG 6-0 final set), Thiem wins a game. 🙃


Willow Says:

Curious as to whom everybody does think is the second favorite at the FO ?


Markus Says:

As a corollary to chofer’s comments about Thiem, Mary Carillo just said that Thiem plays too many tournaments that he does not have the time to develop and improve other aspects of his game.


chofer Says:

Willow

I would totally agree pre surgery. When he could hit through his BH. Woth the slice, on clay, no way!

Either way, his best chance is the quick courts of Madrid.


chofer Says:

Mary Carillo has a point. But how about the preparation off season?
Where is Thien in December-early January? It’s too late in his career to adjust so much.

Not only another kind of serve; his exaggerated torque on his BH is a lliability either on clay! Frustrating.

Too many things to improve on.


chofer Says:

Markus

I don’t have Tennis Channel, but is Carillo commenting on his serve, too?


chofer Says:

See that mistaken BH of Thiem? The sideways position an exxagerated torque? You only need to move him on the run to his BH, and point won!


chofer Says:

Off course,I don’t want to take away how good Rafa is today:m I’m thinkink five tennis year foeward here.

We’ll miss Nadal on clay, folks. Rogfans, admit it!


chofer Says:

forward, I meant


Tennis Vagabond Says:

chofer, DelPo is fully hitting the 2HBH again. He used it incredibly aggressively in Indian Wells.

There is NO good candidate for a challenger to Rafa on clay, but I think DelPotro is closest. If Novak can get rolling over the next two tournaments, he can change that dynamic.


chofer Says:

6-0 6-2. Business as usual. Next.


squirrel Says:

Looking at this, I’m very positive that Sean is wrong in saying that this is Nadal’s last year of clay domination, no freaking way!


chofer Says:

TB

I woukld agree, but he’s not there yet. Hey, to have A CHANCE against nadal on clay he absolutely NEEDS hitting down the line over and over.

Agree on Nole. The only one. That’s why tennis needs him.


chofer Says:

Squirrel

Sean said that? To whom??

Only setback for Nadal it’s an injury during the clay swing. Or a suddenly woke Novak. And that’s about it.


squirrel Says:

hey chofer

Sean Randall said it here: http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2018-04-14/28137.php

“With Rafa soon to be 32, could this be the last big clay season for the legend? I think so. I think this is it. Knees, hips, wrists, ect. This could very well be Nadal last Monte Carlo title. That’s just my feeling.”

I was shocked! haha. but it’s his opinion of course, I respect that but I was telling myself that would be so wrong, Nadal would top clay for at least three more years in my mind. What do you think?


chofer Says:

Is Nishi recovering?

Have an eye on him if he does. His serve is always suspect, but, to me, plays better on clay than Thiem when healthy. But that’s my opinion and Nishikori never supported it when it matters most:)


chofer Says:

Squirrel

It’s obvious that Nadal will play a reduced schedule from now on. It’s obvious that this schedule will get around Roland Garros. It’s obvious that Nadal get his injuries mainly on hard courts, when he has tu ron and work overload.

See a pattern here? Nadal will be favourite on RG until he says, no va más.


chofer Says:

Think of Federer with the grass. Same old.


squirrel Says:

Totally agree with you chofer.

He should reduce his schedule and focus on clay, this is where he’ll continue building his legacy. Just like Roger, this is what makes most sense. For him to avoid hard and for Roger to avoid clay. Sometimes, age is not just a number..


chofer Says:

Squirrel

Agree. Unlike Thiem,the are both wise:)


Markus Says:

chofer, Carillo did not comment about Thiem’s serve. She was basically saying Theim has not improved or added to his game over the years.

Djokovic is still the only one who can challenge Nadal on clay. Unfortunately, I don’t think he has the stamina to do it this year.

Somebody very very good playing very very well and very very focused for a very very long time may be able to beat Nadal when Nadal is playing very very poorly. And what is the chance of that coming all together at the French?


chofer Says:

Markus

As of now, ZERO. It has to be a Soderling accident:) It could happen. I won’t bet on it, though.


chofer Says:

I just wish Nishikori proves, for once, he has ALL the tools to win on clay BIG. I’ve waited for many years now. Something happens to him when he enters the French. He has the luck of Goffin:((


chofer Says:

Minus that serve. Sigh.


AndyMira Says:

Dear Bro Squirrel!….We can’t believe everything Sean wrote here u know…In 2015,when Rafa having a tough moment,he produced a thread that was called…”RIP Rafa Nadal Parera 1986-2015″…

It is no surprise too that we hear that statement came from Sean…..AGAIN!


Willow Says:

When he lost to Novak in 2016 i thought that was it regarding Rafas CC dominance, he pulled out through injury the year before, it took him 3 years to win the FO again, and the CC season has just started theres along way to go yet, he hasnt even won this one as yet, will he time will tell, but Rafa has to beat Grigor then whomever in the final, so im not counting any chickens that is for sure ?


squirrel Says:

hahahahaha AM, you always crack me up. You are very resentful towards Sean for that article ”RIP Rafa Nadal Parera 1986-2015″, you should rightly so! heheheh. aint that coming no moreeee


squirrel Says:

Yeah Willow, true, it’s better ot to count any chickens yet but no one is sotpping him now I think.. :)


Daniel Says:

I think the only thing prevent total Nadal dominance on clay this year is maybe an ocasional off duy due to age. One of those incosnistant days, and even so, his B clay game will need a few possible players to be on their A level (Thiem, Zevrev, Djoko, Delpo and Kei). Only include Thiem vbecuase he got 2 wins and he cna play better than today without the bunch of DF. The 2 hander BH are the only ones with real a shot at Nadal. Dimi may play tough but not win.

Verdasco and Fognini are too old now to be coutned, even with multiple wins over him.


Willow Says:

LOL Now Chofer and Squirrel are giving Daniel and Markus some competition with the spelling errors ;-)


rognadfan Says:

Whoa! Man I missed the ash whipping of epic proportions huh?
I am sure every Rafa fan is in the clouds right now, who wouldn’t be?

That said, Thiem, with his extreme-gripped OHBH was a dead meat even before he took that clay court against Rafa. With that grip you can neighter hit high bouncing shots nor the low slices. And Rafa’s balls never stay lower than his shoulder.

And oh that FH stroke that takes more time to prepare than the time Rafa takes to prepare for his serve, that was never going to bend any hair on Nadal, was it?

But still, a bagel was not what I expected.


AndyMira Says:

Squirrel!,…Resentful?Urgh!..I WILL KICK SEAN’S ASS IF HE WERE NEXT TO ME THAT DAY BRO!!…U would feel the same thing if the title changed to[err..this is an example okay?]..”RIP Roger Federer 1981-2013″…

Now…how do u feel bro?Resentful too?Hehehe…I guessed as much!

Oh!..I asked u the other day Squirrel..u’re going to vote next month?


AndyMira Says:

@Willow!….Hahahahaha…Very funny sis!!


squirrel Says:

@Willow

Hahaha guilty as charged, i mistyped all the times!


squirrel Says:

@AM

Yeah I totally would too!! Dont worry, you got my 100% sympathy, now go kick his ass (kidding of course, no violence kids!) :)

Sorry AM, I did not see your question! Vote for what? Oh I understand, GE14 of course… No I can’t vote because I forgot to register..I know, a travesty..are you??? PKR or BN? hehehe, feel free to ignore that very inappropriate and offensive question! ;)


Daniel Says:

Kei up a set. Good to see him back in contention.


Markus Says:

Hey, Willow, except for that one (or two or a few times), my spilling is always good.


AndyMira Says:

Squirrel!…OH NO!!!U DON’T REGISTER??Hehehe…That’s okay!..Even if u vote there…VERY POSSIBLY that your vote will turned to BLUE in the end…So,doesn’t matter if u vote or not…

Me??Heh heh…I’m a Green/white follower through & through Squirrel!…ALLAHUAKBAR!!


squirrel Says:

hahaha, true, everything turned blue, good luck then to your party :)


AndyMira Says:

Thanks Squirrel!..Yeah!True too that we need a LOT OF LUCK!..Everything is a mess!!..We’re dying here Squirrel…I think i have to immigrate to Belgium too…Hey!no wonder u happily live there now & don’t want to come home!…U traitor!..hahaha…


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Wow, would be great if Kei became the dark horse of the clay season.


Giles Says:

Joker playing in Barcelona next week.
Grigor pulls out of MC.


Giles Says:

Sorry, correction. Grigor pulls out of MC doubles.


Daniel Says:

Wow, last time I checked scores and it was MP Kei, now saw he lost second set breaker. Cilic fighting really hard.


Daniel Says:

I am glad my misstyping bogus went viral here, no turning back now;-)


Daniel Says:

Djoko playing Barcelona is great, this time he will be top 6 seed and could face Nadal again on QF. Let’s wait the draw. Chung also will play


RZ Says:

It’s good to be the King (of clay).


Humble Rafa Says:

Timmy Boy couldn’t find his behind with his own hands. He is the future of clay, after I retire.


Daniel Says:

Ok Gasquet, I like him and he is leading 4-1 and serve vs Zverev, but the last thing we need is a Nadal x Gasquet final. He can barelly win sets on HC let alone clay. I was hoping for him to lose just to guarantee he will not play Nadal.

Nadal x Kei will be a much more entertaining match if Kei is in a high level.


Daniel Says:

Cilic will drop to #5 Monday. Zverev and Dimi will be #3 and 4, unless Dimi wins MC, than he will be #3.


Daniel Says:

Zverev close the set with another break, taking charge now. Think he will be favorite to win now.


chofer Says:

I’m the king of mispelling! I’m dyslexic.


Humble Rafa Says:

Giles Says:
http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/nadal-helps-murray-monte-carlo-2018

One thing I am known for other than winning 123 French Opens is that I have a well defined process for rehabbing. I am glad to share that knowledge with the world, unlike other self obsessed players who I will not name.


Daniel Says:

12 breaks of serve in 22 games played so far in this Gasquet x Zverev match. It’s too much, even for clay


Daniel Says:

13, Gasquet just broke back again.


Humble Rafa Says:

Daniel,

You know you are watching junior tennis. When these boys grow up…


chofer Says:

Best match of the tournament so far.

Sasha plays better on clay than hard courts, me thinks. The problem is that Gasquet is willing to fight today and that his Bh is smoking hot!

Either way, the award here is who’s going to lose with Nadal in the finals. I think it’s Nishikori:)

Grigor is no taking any set off tomorrow.


Daniel Says:

15 breaks out of 26 games and they are even. Who ever holds 1 more time this set wins. Or they will break 4 more times and go to breaker.

WTA feelings


chofer Says:

If Sasha learns how to close out points in the net instead of getting there by chance…

It’s midnight at Montecarlo? What a long day.


chofer Says:

This matcyh is so vintage long that I’m willing to pretend it’s Mats Wilander against any other vintage Swede out there:-


chofer Says:

Whatever, Nishikori wins this thing out. I hope he has already had dinner and a massagge.


Van Persie Says:

What a match. Feel for Gasquet. Think he’s one of the nicest on tour. Have a soft spot for him
Had to be Sascha’s day at his Bday


jalep Says:

The Kei vs Marin has to rank as one of the phoniest competitions in ATP history. Very maddening when neither on want to win and both are fending of real or imaginary injuries the whole 3 boring sets. Hated it. That’s my rant for the day.

Epic and awesome battle between Zverev and Gasquet! Best match of the tournament. The crowd firmly behind the french Monsieur, who performed brilliantly as I have seen him in a long time and Sascha fight off crowd and barely scraping by in the end. Loved it!

Hoping Kei gets clocked by Sascha tomorrow and if he doesn’t, he should be fined for today’s performance. Kei gets no kudos from me. He could have and should have made it past Marin in 2 sets, period.


Van Persie Says:

I think Zverev has a day off tomorrow. Curious if I am right. Let’s see..


jalep Says:

If that’s the case, Van Persie and we get a Nishikori vs Rafa final. Yuck! Kei was shaking out his wrist like it was bothering him and served like shit. Marin was fussing about his leg/knee. Didnt want to see either one win LOL

So if Zverev takes a day off, I expect a real dud of a final.


Van Persie Says:

I meant, Kei will retire :)


Markus Says:

jalep you should rant everyday. It makes me laugh.


jalep Says:

Oh golly, that would be great – Kei retiring. Anyway he’s back inside the top 20 with making the SF. He should just go rest.

Sascha getting a day off that way would be good. Hope so.


Markus Says:

I think Gasquet was laboring towards the end, maybe close to cramping. It would have been an even bet


Markus Says:

…ter match had he been feeling fine throughout. Very good win by Zverev. Nice to start your birthday with a win.


jalep Says:

Markus, um…

thanks?


jalep Says:

Could be that Gasquet was laboring — that was a very physical match for the old Monsieur G.

His fans were there to anesthetize the pain. Better that Zev won. But sad for Gasquet fans. He played his heart out!


Willow Says:

Hi Jalep ;-)


jalep Says:

Hello Willow!

Hope you are enjoying the matches. Rafa’s 11th MC coming, imo.

Sorry so late answering. I fell asleep after my rant lol

Now seeing that Kei’s wrist is probably fine and he’s genuinely fighting today. Zverev clearly not at his best.

Whatever, I guess. Kei didn’t put forth a lot of effort yesterday vs Marin, so he’s showing more energy than poor Sascha atm.

Well, Kei could use the finalist points more than Zverev. Neither one of these guys got enough to bother Rafa, imo.


Willow Says:

Jalep lol no matter my dear, we are in different time zones, and like Markus i also liked your rant, as for Rafa he does look good, and i suppose hes the safe bet, but well you never know life as they say ifs full of surprises lol ….

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