Djokovic survives Kohlschreiber scare in Monte Carlo

Djokovic needed five match points to book his third-round spot

Djokovic needed five match points to book his third-round spot

But on the third break chance for Kohlschreiber, the Serbian put his backhand volley wide to gift the break to his opponent.

He maintained the advantage to avenge his Indian Wells second-round defeat by Kohlschreiber last month.

Two-times victor Djokovic would go on to drop his serve for the fourth time in the set but regained his composure with an early break in the decider.

It has been a fascinating year for one of the greatest players of all-time, with Djokovic losing form after an enormous performance to win the Australian Open invited predictions of a calendar year Grand Slam that would bring him within two of Roger Federer's record tally of 20 major championships.

Kohlschreiber saved a first match point at 30-40 with a sublime drop shot and held. After finally sealing the victory when Kohlschreiber's return landed long, he whacked the ball away in frustration and then whipped another one up into the crowd. "Far from that", Djokovic said.

Djokovic, who lost in the fourth round of the Miami Open last month, seemed irritable at times and smashed his racket into the ground at 4-2 down in the second set. Later in the second, he lobbed his racket at the ball when retrieving a shot at the baseline and inadvertently sent it into the crowd. In his first clay match of 2019, Djokovic was visibly rusty, but his fighting spirit got him through. "This surface is very demanding physically".

He next faces the victor of a second-round match between American Taylor Fritz and Argentina's Diego Schwartzman. "I'm going to try to make it happen".

Argentine Guido Pella knocked out seventh seed Marin Cilic, beating the Croatian 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal, who is seeking a record-extending 12th title here, is in second-round action Wednesday against Spanish countryman Roberto Bautista Agut.

"Is this the best that I've played on clay? No".

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