Novak Djokovic bows out in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal progresses
Dominic Thiem v Novak Djokovic 6-7(2) 6-2 6-3

Novak Djokovic bows out in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal progresses

Novak Djokovic missed out on a Monte Carlo Masters quarter-final with Rafael Nadal after falling to Dominic Thiem in the third round.

The former world number one was pegged back after winning a first set tie-break, eventually succumbing 6-7(2) 6-2 6-3.

Djokovic had earlier declared he was pain-free after two years battling a persistent elbow injury, but his latest outing showed he still has some rebuilding to do before he can be seriously considered as a Grand Slam contender again.

The Serb’s backhand faltered at crucial moments as Thiem chalked up back-to-back victories over him following their French Open quarter-final last year.

Thiem’s reward is a last-eight meeting with Nadal, who tore through Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-3 6-2.

Nadal is making his return in Monte Carlo from a hip injury that saw him retire from the Australian Open. He will begin his bid an 11th French Open crown in May.

Third seed Alexander Zverev overcame a mid-match blip to beat fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 4-6 6-4, but was denied a quarter-final meeting with his older brother Mischa, who lost 6-2 7-5 to Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

World number three Marin Cilic progressed without hitting a ball after his opponent Milos Raonic withdrew due to a knee injury.

The Australian Open runner-up next plays Japan's Kei Nishikori, who beat Italian Andreas Seppi 6-0 2-6 6-3.

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