Thiem saves match point to win thriller

Lajovic, ranked 93 in the world, offered resistance in the second set to level at 1-1 but failed to capitalise on a break point as the 12-time grand slam victor roared back to book a second round meeting with Borna Coric of Croatia. "But I'm looking forward to watching Djokovic and Coric in front of the TV and then playing the victor on Thursday". It gave him a break point, but Djokovic saved it with an ace. I know I gotta keep mine.

The 21-year-old Croatian also saved a break point in his first service game, but could not fend off Djokovic for long as the two-time Monte Carlo victor moved 3-1 ahead when Coric mishit a smash.

The former world No 1 was showing the ferocity and accuracy of old in his groundstrokes and he had the better of three straight breaks to take control.

Rublev spurned a match point on his own serve late in the deciding set as he fired a forehand narrowly wide."I had to fight from the first to the last point, which of course I did well".

He rediscovered his composure, though, to break again and finally complete the job at the 10th time of asking as Coric sent a backhand flying long.

World No 1 Rafael Nadal, like Novak Djokovic, is looking for a record 31st Masters title.

Thiem is playing in his first tournament since suffering an ankle injury at Indian Wells last month.

The 16-time grand slam victor, like Djokovic, is looking for a record 31st Masters title, and he swatted aside Bedene for the loss of only four games.

The 26-year-old, who won the Cincinnati Masters and the ATP Tour Finals last season, threw away an early break in the third set, but quickly refocused to finish off the spirited Herbert.

The 31-year-old Spaniard wrapped up a comfortable victory in the Monaco sunshine with another break as Bedene hit a forehand into the net.

Kei Nishikori had earlier produced a 7-5 6-2 win over world number 49 Daniil Medvedev in the second round. Ranked 13th in the world after lengthy spells off the court with an elbow injury, Djokovic is training with Vajda for the first time since last year's Monte Carlo Masters.

"But I was also lucky at the end when he had a match point and missed a forehand by 10 centimetres or so", said Thiem.

Elsewhere, Karen Khachanov cruised past Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-2 to set up a meeting with either Nadal or Bedene, while 11th seed Roberto Bautista Agut beat Feliciano Lopez in straight sets.

Seventh seed Pouille, a semi-finalist a year ago, eased through the first set but Zverev hit back to claim a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/3) victory and reach the third round for the first time in his career.

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