Novak Djokovic will owe compatriot Dusan Lajovic big-time after the Serb shut down hopes for Daniil Medvedev to take over the Top 2 ranking spot next week.
Lajovic surprised the Australian Open finalist from Russia with a 7-6(4), 6-4 defeat in 96 minutes to move into the second round at the ATP Rotterdam tournament on Wednesday.
Had Medvedev, who lost to Djokovic in the Melbourne final 10 days ago, reached the final here, he would have moved up to second behind Djokovic, replacing Rafael Nadal.
With Djokovic’s playing schedule a question mark after his abdominal muscle tear in Melbourne, any help the world No.1 can get is eagerly accepted.
Reports indicate that Team Djokovic is of two minds as to whether their man should risk the Miami Masters from March 24 or skip the hardcourt event and prepare for clay in April.
“I was very focused the whole match and not influenced by his good serves and shots,” Lajovic said.
“I knew if I stayed in the match, I’d get my opportunities and change the rhythm.”
The outsider trailed a break in the opening set against Medvedev but got it back as he slowly turned the tide against the favourite.
Medvedev lost only his second match this season after winning the ATP Cup for Russia and playing the Melbourne final.
He has now won 20 of his past 22 matches going back to last November.
Belgium’s sixth-seeded David Goffin, titleholder last weekend in Montpellier, beat German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-0, taking barely an hour to next play Jeremy Chardy.
“I returned really well and stayed aggressive after returning serve,” Goffin said. “I I started with a lot of confidence in the second set; I’m am playing and moving well.”