Novak Djokovic Monte Carlo conqueror aiming to repeat Rafael Nadal achievements

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is setting his sights high after upsetting Novak Djokovic in Monte Carlo. The world No 46 has now gone on to make the semi-finals of a Masters 1000 for the first time and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his compatriot Rafael Nadal, who has won a record 11 titles at the tournament.

Davidovich Fokina scored the win of his young career when he took down world No 1 Djokovic 6-3 6-7(5) 6-1 in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters, in what was the Serb’s first match after receiving a bye. He has since gone on to back up the result, making it into his maiden semi-final at Masters 1000 level where he will face Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday.

Following his career-best run in Monaco, the 22-year-old Spaniard is now aiming high as he admitted he wishes to replicate his compatriot Nadal’s achievements at the Monte Carlo Country Club, with the world No 4 holding a record 11 trophies from the event. “This is a tournament that I have always liked,” the world No 46 said after reaching the last four.

“I have seen the great moments of Rafael Nadal and the victories of him, and I thought that I wish one day I could be the one who lives that.” It was another three set battle for Davidovich Fokina on Friday, as he came from a set down to defeat recent Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz in the quarter-final 2-6 6-4 6-3 for his best-ever showing at a Masters.

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Speaking about his achievement of making it to the last four in Monte Carlo, he said: “Last year I reached the quarterfinals and I retired. It was a sad thing. Now I have had my first game on centre court, with the public, and the feeling is very different.

“I had many options to break the serve in the first set but I thought that sooner or later my moment would come. The last games of the second set were very important, key in the match.”

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Davidovich Fokina also admitted his round two victory over the 20-time Major champion had given him the confidence to go on and defeat more tricky platers in Fritz and his third-round opponent David Goffin, a former top-ten who is fresh off the back of winning the title in Marrakech. “Beating Djokovic gave me a lot of confidence because you don’t always beat the number one in the world. Then I had to deal with all those emotions,” he said.

“Then the match against Goffin who had won in Marrakech and who is a great player was not easy. I feel stronger physically and mentally and I’m enjoying myself.” He has another tough opponent in Dimitrov next, a former world No 3 who won the ATP Finals in 2017. Davidovich Fokina leads their head-to-head 1-0, winning their sole match at another clay masters in Rome last year 6-4 7-6(2).

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