ATP Monte Carlo: Jiri Vesely upsets Novak Djokovic in three sets

In the second round of the Monte-Carlo Open, the wold number one, Novak Djokovic tasted defeat for only the second time all season as 22-year-old Jiri Vesely won the match in three sets, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.

Vesely breaks late, holds onto opening set

Throughout the first few service games, the Czech served excellently, hitting his spots across the court, while not dropping a single point in the opening two games; he would finally drop a point after winning ten in a row. In the fifth game of the opening set, Djokovic and Vesely exchanged a couple of net shots before the Serbiahit a passing shot to hold serve.

The seventh game of the set is were Djokovic was tested. On his first serve, he hit a Vesely's return beyond the baseline which dug himself into a an early 0-15 hole and then followed it up with a double fault. Djokovic would get a point back as he smashed a forehand winner up the baseline and drew level when Vesely hit a ball into the net. Vesely stayed in the game, despite losing three straight points when he hit a perfect drop shot just out of the reach of his opponent. To hold serve, Djokovic had to reach low to the ground to pop a shot over the net. 

For the second straight service game, Djokovic went behind 0-30. He hit a shot long before missing on a backhand wide. Each of the opening three points came on unforced errors, which is never a good sign for any player let alone the top men's tennis player in the world. The Serbian did get lucky though, clawing back a second point when a ball that Vesely hit bounced on the net a couple of times before landing in his court. Vesely eventually won the break on another error from Djokovic. He would be able to consolidate the break, while winning the set, by moving Djokovic around the court and making him work hard for every shot.

Vesely battling against Djokovic in the Monte-Carlo Open. | Photo: Getty Images
Vesely battling against Djokovic in the Monte-Carlo Open. | Photo: Getty Images

Djokovic cruises through second set

The second set started out much like the first with both men being able to hold onto their serves. But this time, in the sixth game, it would be Djokovic who would get the break. Vesely started out the game by hitting a wild shot that went well wide of the court. Then, he could not handle a shot as it fell harmlessly in front of the net. The errors would continue as Vesely smashed a ball into the net before missing a backhand wide, handing Djokovic a break. 

Djokovic would consolidate his break despite dropping the first point of his service game. Vesely's nerves increased late in the second set when, in the eighth game, he dropped four of the five points giving Djokovic the second set and leveling things at one. 

Vesely clinches upset

The 22-year-old continued to show why he is an up-and-coming star in tennis. He battled with Novak Djokovic to start the final set, earning himself an early advantage by winning the break. Unfortunately, he was unable to consolidate his break as Djokovic brought things back to serve. Vesely had been dominating the beginning part of the final set though when he won his second straight break, taking a 2-1 lead. 

Vesely, this time around, would be able to consolidate his break. He served the ball well the whole match and won two late service games this way, winning all four points while opening up a 4-2 lead. The upset was eventually complete in the tenth game of the set. Vesely lost the first point of the game when he hit a forehand long. But then, he would rattle off the final four points to win. He executed an audacious drop shot from behind the baseline that Djokovic did not even try to get. Vesely followed that up by placing a serve that forced Djokovic to hit a poor return shot. Then, on a long rally, Novak Djokovic could not hit a a drop shot as his fell in front of the net. Vesely rounded off the day when Djokovic 

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Vesely was not afraid of Djokovic despite this being the first time these two had met. He served well throughout most of afternoon while being adventurous up at the net. The young Czech executed his gameplan to perfection and capitalized on errors made by Novak Djokovic. 

As a result of his victory, Jiri Vesely will play the winner of Gaël Monfils and Paolo Lorenzi in the third round of the tournament.