Alejandro Davidovich reacts to beating world number one, Novak Djokovic. / REUTERS

Malaga's Davidovich beats world number one Djokovic in Monte Carlo

The Rincón de la Victoria player triumphed over Novak Djokovic after a three-hour exhibition of tennis that could prove to be a turning point in his career

PEDRO LUIS ALONSO

Rincón de la Victoria tennis player Alejandro Davidovich, ranked 46th in the world, has won a another battle that he can proudly boast about. And it was a true battle, without exaggeration.

The child prodigy who once played on the Calaflores courts wrote another chapter in his career: beating none other than the world number one, Novak Djokovic. Davidovich did so in the world spotlight, at a big tournament, the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Davidovich could have completed his feat on at least five favourable occasions in the second set. But it seemed like he was allowing another big achievement to slip away. It’s previously happened this year against Auger-Aliassime, Tsitsipas, Sinner and Shapovalov. But he waited until the third set, when it was least expected of him, to beat Djokovic, who had returned to competitive tennis after a six-week break.

Djokovic had parted ways with his coach, Marian Vajda, and now trains under Goran Ivanisevic, who was already his advisor. It was unsurprising that the Serbian tennis player struggled, especially as he hadn’t played on clay since June, but Davidovich’s motivation also had a lot to do with the match’s final outcome. The Andalusian was serving well and even and had three break points in his rival’s initial trio of service games. Djokovic only reacted when he went 4-1 down, with Davidovich managing a double break, but the Serbian clawed back two games to make it 4-3.

Rollercoaster

It was now or never for Davidovich, who barely made it 5-3 before, to everyone’s surprise, breaking his opponent’s serve for a fourth time to take the first set, all the while leaving some incredible statistics: Davidovich had 13 winning points (Djokovic’s 8 all came from his righ-handed hits) and was 16-7 up in unforced errors, as he was quick to read his rival’s drop shots and more consistent with his serves.

The second set was a rollercoaster. It was a maturity test for Davidovich, who saved a break point at the start of the set, and another five during the game. Both players were very sporting with one another, with Djokovic applauding some of Davidovich’s points and recognising dubious balls that had been called out - but they both train together on the Costa del Sol. However, the Serbian didn’t seem to like his rival’s low serves, which awakened his winning character.

Davidovich was 6-3 and 3-0 up, an ideal situation, but Djokovic made it 3-2 in the blink of an eye, after a game where he broke an Davidovich’s serve, who made some rash decisions. The Andalusian was close to another shock that would have put him 4-2 up, but the Serbian denied him.

Djokovic used that momentum to eventually pick up the second set, winning the tiebreak 7-5 with an impressive lob to close it out after nearly an hour and a quarter of back and forth play between the pair.

It seemed impossible that Davidovich would be able to win, but he got the third set off to a flying start and went 2-0 up. Djokovic was visibly tired and the Andalusian prolonged each point to ensure that he won them. The Serbian, exhausted, then found himself losing 4-1.

Davidovich then served, knowing that victory was within his reach. He was about to achieve something great, and he thoroughly deserved it, eventually winning the final set 6-1 and handing the world number one a defeat.