The line-up of thursday's round of 16 matches in ATP Rolex Monte Carlo Masters promised some great tennis emotions during the on-court fights between big names who prevailed in the opening rounds of the tournament. It was definitely a day to remember due to matches will be surely a highlights of whole the week in Monte Carlo.
The day started with a match-up between Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz. The Italian was a confident pre-match favorite with an odd 1.22. Sinner was showing a great form in his recent appearances, while Hurkacz was struggling to make the job done against lower ranked players in his previous matches. Despite that, the Pole proved that he can fight with anyone during a good day and played flawlessly in first set, taking it 6-3 on his account. Second set started also well for Hurkacz who broke Sinner in 3rd game and was in a driver's seat to win this match, but did not confirm the break advantage as the Italian leveled the score in following game. Sinner raised up his level, making more and more trouble during Hurkacz's service games, creating 2 breakpoints which one of was a setpoint. The Pole defended it and forced a tiebreak, where both players were serving brilliantly, winning all the service points in first 13 balls to play. Hurkacz was the first to serve, so he stayed in front of a chance to get a matchpoint. Despite the fact it was Sinner's service point, the ball was in play. It has ended up after a long 22-shots rally, with a great cross backhand winner stunned by Sinner. The current world's number 8 defended matchpoint in a fabulous style and turned over the fates of this tie. He took the advantage a while later and clinched second set, forcing a decider. Hurkacz did not manage to regroup after wasting his chance, while his opponent followed the blow and dominated third set, winning whole the match with a score 3-6 7-6(6) 6-1.
Jannik Sinner was waiting for his quarterfinals opponent to the settlement of match between Novak Djokovic and Lorenzo Musetti. The world's number one was an obvious favorite and everything looked as expected after first set. It was a shaky play from both players, but Djokovic won it 6-4 despite losing 2 out of his 5 service games. Second set was no more stable performance from both, as 6 out of first 7 games ended up with breaks. It went on Djokovic's favour though, as the Serbian was leading with a set and break. Normally, barely anyone can expect the multi Grand Slam champion can slip away this kind of advantage, but some unexpected slump happened for Nole. Musetti broke back, and the match was suspended for one hour due to rain in this moment. Despite a long break, Djokovic did not get back his good performance and lost this set while getting broken in three service games in a row. Musetti also struggled while serving for the set within a score 5-4, but did not waste another chance in 12th game, forcing a decider with a score 7-5. Third set had different turn of events, as both players were taking care of service games without any issues till 7th game. Then, Djokovic got broken to 15 and Musetti had everything in his hands to take the biggest win in his career. He did not slip it away despite some nerves in deciding 10th game. Musetti was 40-15 up, but Djokovic came back and even managed to create a breakpoint which could level the score again. The Italian held his nerves and closed this match with a score 4-6 7-5 6-4, making a huge upset on Djokovic who suffered just second defeat in year 2023.
"I am struggling not to cry. It is an emotional win because it was a really long match. Three hours match and suspended by rain. It was not easy conditions because it was a little bit windy and cold. Not like we used to play in the recent days. I am really proud of myself and I can see on the screen. I am struggling not to cry because it is a dream for me. I could not find the right balance on serve. Particularly with the toss. I think we were returning better than serving. The rallies at the end were really intense and really long and it was a tough battle. Even for the physical and mental part. Beating Novak is something remarkable for me. I am just going to enjoy this win for at least half an hour and then I will rest, recover and be ready for the next battle with a friend and fellow Italian." - said the happy Italian in his post-match interview.
The duels between Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev start to be some kind of classic in ATP competitions. After a crazy three-setter played between both during Indian Wells, the players delivered another thriller in a 3:08 hours long match ended up with a win of Medvedev, who eliminated Zverev with a score 3-6 7-5 7-6(7). The Russian was a slight pre-match favorite despite playing on the surface which is far from favorite for him. He lost first set despite being a break up in the early stages of it. Second one also started better for Medvedev, but Zverev made up the gap and moved up into 5-4 lead, serving for the match. He wasted this chance as getting broken to 15 by the US Open 2021 champion, who gained another break in 12th game and clinched second set with a score 7-5. Another big chance came true in deciding set. First eight games did not deliver any break, mainly due to a huge hold from Zverev, who defended 5 breakpoints in 6th game. The German was first to take advantage in 9th game, producing another chance to serve for the match. It failed another time, as Medvedev broke back to love and forced the tiebreak, which was a rollercoaster. Both players were quite vulnerable on serve and Zverev faced another big chances, making two matchpoints, which one of was during his own serve. Another chances and another wastes from Zverev, who did not manage to convert any of those points. Medvedev needed just one chance to close the match, winning the tiebreak 9-7.
“That was a crazy match. He served two times for the match, he probably should have done better, but that is also clay courts. I tried to watch a lot of tennis before playing this tournament, and one thing that I saw is you can come back at any moment. The serve does not count as much, so as soon as someone gets a little bit tight, the match can turn around in one second. That is what I managed to do.” - said Medvedev during the on-court interview. The Russian will face Holger Rune in quarters, who did not need to appear on court on Thursday, as his opponent Matteo Berretini pulled out before the match due to an injury.
Andrey Rublev plays against Jan Lennard Struff in Friday's quarterfinal. The German caused another notable upset of this day, defeating the world's number 4 Casper Ruud in straight sets. Struff won first set surprisingly easy and was a dominant force in second phase as well, leading 5-2 with a double break advantage. He did not manage to serve for the match despite having two matchpoints in his own service game later on. Ruud did not just make up the gap, but also leveled the score in 10th game. Despite giving away this kind of advantage, Struff regrouped well in tiebreak, winning it after tight battle and securing one of his best career's win with a score 6-1 7-6(6). Rublev played probably the most unpredictable match-up on paper against his fellowcountry Karen Khachanov, but also prevailed in straight sets with a score 7-6(4) 6-2.
Stefanos Tsitsipas keeps the dream of winning Rolex Monte Carlo Masters for the third time in a row after scoring a routine win against Nicolas Jarry. The Greek won 6-3 6-4 and will face Taylor Fritz in QFs. The American denied the upset from Jiri Lehecka despite being a set down and won 4-6 6-4 6-1.