Thiem saves match point to win thriller

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The 30-year-old Serbian, ninth-seed, competes at the Monte-Carlo Masters for the 12th time, after claiming the title in 2013 and 2015. However, Ćorić then replaced his mistakes with precision strikes that found Djokovic less responsive, and the result was Ćorić's return to the set. "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.

Djokovic, a two-time victor at Monte Carlo, dropped just eight points as he wrapped up the first set with his opponent well off the pace. "I made some small minor changes that actually in our world are quite significant".

The Croatian, now ranked 39th in the world, refused to allow Djokovic, playing in only his fourth tournament since last summer's Wimbledon championships, a stranglehold on the match.

He rediscovered his composure, though, to break again and finally complete the job at the 10th time of asking as Coric sent a backhand flying long.

No. 6 David Goffin of Belgium needed four match points to beat qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (4), 7-5, while Zverev's older brother, Mischa Zverev also reached the third round by beating No. 7 Lucas Pouille 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (3).

World No 1 Rafael Nadal, like Novak Djokovic, is looking for a record 31st Masters title.

The 16-time grand slam victor, like Djokovic, is looking for a record 31st Masters title, and he swatted aside Bedene for the loss of only four games.

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World number 58 Bedene put up more of a fight in the second, surviving a break point in his opening service game before impressively taking his next two to love.

Roberto Bautista Agut bt Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-3; Albert Ramos-Vinolas bt Jared Donaldson 6-3, 6-3; Andrey Rublev bt Robin Haase 7-6 (7), 2-6, 7-5; Borna Coric bt Julien Benneteau 6-2, 6-3; Kei Nishikori bt Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-2, 6-1; Novak Djokovic bt Dusan Lajovic 6-0, 6-1.

Thiem is playing in his first tournament since suffering an ankle injury at Indian Wells last month.

"The first set was a real battle, he was playing a little better than me I think at the beginning", said Nishikori.

"I just hope that I'll be healthy".

The Serbian won 7-6, 7-5 to set up a last-16 tie with Thiem - who knocked him out of the French Open past year.

His reward for the comprehensive victory is a clash with Russia's Karen Khachanov after the 21-year-old impressively downed Gilles Simon 6-2 6-2.

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