18th time’s the charm? Gael Monfils sets another meeting with Novak Djokovic
Gael Monfils has made it to the second round in Madrid, giving him a shot at a first career win over Novak Djokovic at the 18th time of asking.
The former world number six has met the world number one 17 times in as many years on the ATP tour.
Monfils and Djokovic will now meet again after Monfils downed Spanish wildcard Carlos Gimeno Valero 6-3, 6-0 in under an hour to advance at the Madrid Open.
The two veterans first faced off at the 2005 US Open in what was just a fourth main draw Slam appearance for the two men.
While that match went five sets and could have gone either way, Djokovic has had the Frenchman’s number for the best part of two decades since.
Djokovic’s 17-0 record over Monfils matches Rafael Nadal’s 17-0 win-loss head-to-head against Richard Gasquet and Roger Federer’s own 17-0 record against former world number three David Ferrer.
Five of those 17 matches between Djokovic and Monfils have come at Slam level, including in the semi-finals of the 2016 US Open, while eight were played at Masters 1000 events.
perhaps the most agonising loss for Monfils came in the semi-finals of the 2020 Dubai Open when he had three match points in a second set tiebreak before Djokovic eventually came out on top 2-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-1.
While the rivalry has seen 17 previous encounters, only one has ever come on clay, that being at Roland Garros in 2006, only the second ever match between the pair.
The winner between the two will face either Andy Murray in the third round after he defeated Dominic Thiem or the victor of Denis Shapovalov versus Ugo Humbert.
🎾 Join >> Receive $700/£600 of tennis gear from the Tennishead CLUB
🎾 Social >> Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube
🎾 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine
🎾 Watch >> How to enjoy ATP/WTA/Slam tennis on TV
🎾 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted partner
🎾 Gambling >> Betway tennis odds