Nole will play in his 10th quarter-final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on Friday.

Top seed Novak Djokovic defeated Lorenzo Musetti 7-5, 6-3 in the third round, avenging his loss to the Italian in the same stage of the competition 12 months ago.

The world’s top-ranked tennis player was not at his best on Thursday, but he did enough to triumph. Musetti led by a break in the first set. However, the Serbian ace found his rhythm and consistency in crucial moments to seal the victory.

Novak gained the decisive break in the 12th game of the first set before he played with greater intensity in the second to advance after one hour and 59 minutes.

“I don’t think I am still at my top level but it was a great test today against a great player, a very talented player,” Djokovic said. “I lost to him last year here, similar circumstances. I was a set and 4-2 up and I must say it was in the back of my mind when I was serving at 4-2, 40/15 and lost my serve today. I thought, ‘Oh no, hopefully this is not similar scenario like last year’. I am really glad to overcome the challenge and look forward to the next one.”

Match statistics: aces (3-1), double faults (2-1), winners (18-18), unforced errors (23-26), total points won (72-57).

Novak will next meet 11th seed Alex de Minaur (H2H 1-1) after the Australian beat his countryman Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic is a two-time titlist at the ATP Masters 1000 event (2013, 2015).

The 98-time tour-level champion is still searching for his first trophy of the season.

Photo: Profimedia

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