Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Dominic Thiem of Austria during the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament, on April 19, 2018 in Monaco. / AFP / VALERY HACHE
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Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters by an inspired Dominic Thiem in the third round Thursday, with the Austrian fifth seed progressing to the quarterfinals. Thiem, a two-time French Open semifinalist, was the better player for much of the match and won 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3 despite a battling effort from Djokovic.Djokovic faced a set point on his own serve when trailing 5-2, but saved it with a volley to force Thiem to serve for the opener.The first few games of the second set went with serve, but Thiem broke for a 3-2 lead on his third break point of the game when Djokovic scooped a wayward backhand off target.The key moment came in the seventh game of the third set, when Djokovic lost a 40-15 lead and Thiem broke with a venomous backhand up the line.
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