Monaco: Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem saved a match point in a gripping Monte Carlo Masters second-round win over Russian youngster Andrey Rublev on Tuesday.
The two-time French Open semi-finalist recovered from a set down to book a last-16 clash against either Novak Djokovic or Borna Coric with a 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 victory.
Rublev spurned a match point on his own serve late in the deciding set as he fired a forehand narrowly wide.
“I had to fight from the first to the last point, which of course I did well. But I was also lucky at the end when he had a match point and missed a forehand by 10 centimetres or so,” said Thiem.
“I was 10 centimetres from being out of the tournament.”
After easing into the second round, a relieved Novak Djokovic said his troublesome right elbow no longer bothers him.
Djokovic beat Serbian countryman Dusan Lajovic 6-0, 6-1. He won on his first match point, whipped off his hat, tilted his head back, and raised his hands in triumph.
The joy was less because of the first-round victory - he is a two-time champion here, after all - but more because his injury didn’t resurface.
“I thought it was good considering the amount of matches I’ve played. I mean, I (have) played probably six, seven matches since Wimbledon last year,” said Djokovic, who next faces Borna Coric of Croatia. “So after two years, finally I can play without pain.”