Novak Djokovic makes tennis history in 'devastating' dominance of Gael Monfils

The 23-time grand slam champion has driven another nail in his rival's coffin.

Seen here, Novak Djokovic hitting a winner against Gael Monfils in Cincinnati.
Novak Djokovic made more tennis history after extending his ATP Tour record over Gael Monfils to 19-0. Pic: Getty/Tennis TV

Novak Djokovic has once again etched his name into tennis history after a 19th consecutive win again French rival Gael Monfils. The 23-time grand slam champion already holds a number of extraordinary records in the sport but still managed to chalk up another one in his 6-3, 6-2 thumping of Monfils in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters.

The straight sets demolition extended the 36-year-old's career head-to-head record against Monfils to a staggering 19-0. Djokovic's flawless ATP Tour record against the Frenchman is now the most lopsided for any matchup in the history of the men's tour (Open era).

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At 18-0 heading into the third round match, Djokovic was tied with Spanish rival Rafa Nadal, whose whipping boy has been another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet. Four other head-to-heads stand at 17-0 on the ATP Tour, including two in favour of retired Swiss great Roger Federer (against David Ferrer and Mikhail Youzhny).

Curiously, Monfils has beaten Djokovic once before but it was at a 2004 Futures event in Italy that is not part of the men's tour. Apart from that solitary victory for Monfils, it has been one-way traffic, with tennis fans taking to social media in awe of Djokovic's record-breaking dominance.

Novak Djokovic beats Gael Monfils yet again

“It was kind of an evolution of both players over the last 15-plus years that we have been facing each other in different parts of the world, also in juniors and of course after on the professional circuit,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “Early on I struggled a lot with him — physically, as well. When you play one of the most athletic guys on the tour, you have to be ready for every ball to come back. His game suits me.

“It’s nice to see him back; we had not played in a few years. It’s great to to see him back playing well at such a high level.” After another humbling from the Serb, Monfils may feel a little differently.

Djokovic next faces ninth seed Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals, with the American advancing after Dusan Lajovic retired with a toe injury while trailing 5-0. Top seed Carlos Alcaraz is also into the last eight after coming through a number of frustrating rain delays to beat Tommy Paul 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (7/0) 6-3.

Aussie pair flying high in 21-year first

Aussie pair Max Purcell and Alexei Popyrin are also into the Cincinnati quarters in what represents a remarkable 21-year first for Australian tennis. Just 24 hours after beating World No.7 Casper Ruud for the biggest win of his career, Purcell backed it up with a 6-4 6-2 win over three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka.

Purcell began the year at World No.220, but won three ATP Challenger Tour titles and showed some brilliant form on the Asian circuit. He is now poised to break into the top 50 when the rankings are next updated and will be hoping to continue his giant-slaying run going when he meets World No.1 Alcaraz in the last-eight.

Seen here is Max Purcell shocking Stan Wawrinka at the Cincinnati Masters.
Max Purcell shocked Stan Wawrinka to advance to the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Open. Image: Getty

Popyrin also advanced to a first Masters 1000 quarter-final after beating Emil Ruusuvuori 6-2 1-6 6-3. Popyrin only came into the main draw in Cincinnati as a lucky loser, but has made the most of the opportunity - beating Daniel Altmaier before getting a walkover against Nicolás Jarry.

It means he is the first lucky loser to make the quarters in Cincinnati since 2012. It also makes the first time in 21 years that two Aussie males have made the final eight at the event.

Other men's matches saw Alexander Zverev upset third seed Daniil Medvedev 6-4 5-7 6-4, while unseeded Polish player Hubert Hurkacz unleashed 11 aces and 27 winners to stun World No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4. Hurkacz's upset saw the Pole book a date with Popyrin in the quarter-finals.

with agencies

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