(Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic’s French Open preparations were dealt with a blow as he suffered a 6-3 4-6 6-2 defeat by Russian Daniil Medvedev in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals on Friday.
Djokovic, a two-time champion in Monte Carlo, roared back to level the contest after dropping the first set but that did not prevent the 23-year-old Medvedev from claiming the biggest victory of his career.
Medvedev had lost each of his previous three encounters against Djokovic but on this occasion broke his Serbian opponent’s serve five times to move into the final four.
“He’s got a very solid backhand. He hits it very low and with depth,” Djokovic said.
“A windy day like today, conditions are changing every single game. It’s kind of tough to find the rhythm, and he doesn’t give you much rhythm.
“He improved his movement a lot since last year. He definitely deserves to be where he is.”
Medvedev will next face another Serb Dusan Lajovic, who followed up his shock win over world number five Dominic Thiem with a 6-4 7-5 victory over Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego.
For Djokovic, it was another premature exit from an ATP Masters 1000 event after he crashed out in the early rounds at Indian Wells and Miami last month.
The 31-year-old has struggled for rhythm in his first clay court event of the season and will need step up his game to have a chance of completing a personal sweep at next month’s French Open by lifting his fourth straight Grand Slam title.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)