Monte Carlo – Novak Djokovic needed 10 match points to claim a hard fought straight-sets victory over the dangerous Borna Coric on Wednesday, setting up a Monte Carlo Masters third-round clash with Dominic Thiem.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion, playing only his fourth tournament since Wimbledon last July after struggling with a right elbow injury, overcame some late nerves to win 7-6 (7/2), 7-5.
Djokovic is working with long-time former coach Marian Vajda for the first time in almost a year after splitting from Andre Agassi, and the 30-year-old has looked rejuvenated in Monaco after early exits in Indian Wells and Miami.
The Serbian will next face Austrian fifth seed Thiem with a possible quarter-final against defending champion Rafael Nadal, who plays Aljaz Bedene later on Wednesday, up for grabs.
Results from the Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x9) bt Borna Coric (CRO) 7-6 (7/2), 7-5
Karen Khachanov (RUS) bt Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-2, 6-2
Kei Nishikori (JPN) bt Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP x11) bt Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 7-6 (7/5)
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Fabio Fognini (ITA x13) 6-4, 6-2
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) bt Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP x15) 6-4, 6-2