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Did you manage to catch the tennis last night? If not, you missed out on some rather epic games. Of course, I am talking about the 2023 Western & Southern Open here. And despite all of the rain delays, most of the matches that were listed on the Cincinnati Open schedule yesterday were played and completed. This included a third-round battle involving Novak Djokovic vs Gael Monfils. Amazingly, this was the 19th time that these two guys have played each other.
And as you’ve seen already, the head-to-head involving Djokovic vs Monfils doesn’t make for great reading if you are a Monfils fan. Remarkably, Djokovic has beaten the entertaining Frenchman every single time that they have faced one another. As for the latest match that was played last night, this was actually the most dominant of them all. So essentially, this suggests that Monfils is edging further away from ever beating Djokovic, which must be pretty tough to take.
Anyway, I’d like to share some details of the long story between these two guys right now following the Djokovic win over Monfils at the 2023 Cincinnati Open.
Djokovic vs Monfils head to head – a breakdown of the most dominant head-to-head record in the Open Era
Yes, you did read that correctly. Given that the head-to-head record for Djokovic vs Monfils now stands at 19-0 in the Serbian’s favor, this is the most dominant head-to-head record that currently exists in the open era. In fact, if you were to equate each one of Djokovic’s match wins against Monfils into one game of a five-set match, he’s beaten him enough times for a 6-0 6-0 6-0 victory.
Of course, I’m pointing that out purely for an interesting visual, although it does showcase just how dominant the great Serb has been against Monfils in his career. Furthermore, since these guys are both 36 years of age, their head-to-head record dates back quite some years. It’s a very intriguing timeline to look at, and I’d like to now provide a breakdown of this head-to-head.
The timeline of Djokovic’s 19 wins against Monfils
Believe it or not, the first time we witnessed a Djokovic vs Monfils match was all the way back in 2005 – at least in an official ATP event. However, one little-known fact is that Monfils actually has beaten Djokovic in the past, just not in an ATP-sanctioned event. His one and only win over the Serbian was in a Challenger event back in 2004. But sadly for Monfils, this doesn’t count for the overall head-to-head record. So with that said, 2005 was the official beginning of the head-to-head for these guys.
This match was played at the 2005 US Open, and Novak Djokovic beat Gael Monfils in five sets in that contest, which happened to be in the first round. Since then, they have played each other in almost every ATP season – on all surfaces. Most of these matches were played at the quarter-finals stage or before, yet Djokovic has beaten Monfils in two ATP finals. These were the 2009 Paris Masters final and the 2017 Eastbourne International final.
The closest Monfils ever got to beating Djokovic
Although Monfils has never officially beaten Novak Djokovic, as the 19-0 head-to-head record confirms, he has come close on a number of occasions. As referenced above, Monfils lost in five sets in their first ATP encounter, although this was the only time they have gone the distance. Yet while this was the closest that Monfils has gotten to beating Djokovic in a Grand Slam, he was never closer than at the 2020 Dubai Open.
Monfils played simply incredible tennis that day, and he had three match points in the second set against Djokovic. But unfortunately, he didn’t convert any of them, and in true Djokovic fashion, he tightened his grip and proceeded to win the third set 6-1.
Why the 2023 Cincinnati Open match is so significant
Novak Djokovic has beaten Gael Monfils comfortably in many of their previous matches. However, the performance in the third round of the Cincinnati Open last night was truly clinical. Djokovic won the match by a score of 6-3 6-2, but it could well have been 6-3 6-0 if it wasn’t for a lapse in concentration at the end. Yet the reason the match is significant isn’t down to the scoreline.
When Djokovic converted his match point, he cemented his quickest win over Monfils. It took just 1 hour and 7 minutes for Djokovic to beat Monfils, which is quite incredible really.
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