Hurkacz rallies in opening round at Monte Carlo

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MONACO — Tenth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland was two points away from defeat before rallying to beat Laslo Djere 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) in the first round of the clay-court Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday.

Djere served for the match at 5-4 and led 30-15 but Hurkacz broke for 5-5. He then tied the match on his first set point in the tiebreaker and finally won after nearly 3 hours, 20 minutes against the unseeded Serb.

Earlier, 15th-seeded Borna Coric lost to unseeded Chilean Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 6-3. Jarry broke the Croatian player’s serve three times and did not face a break point.

In the day’s other first-round match, Jaume Munar of Spain beat Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic of Serbia and two-time defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece have byes to the second round as they both look to win the tournament for a third time.

Djokovic, who won in 2013 and 2015, faces either American Mackenzie McDonald or Russian qualifier Ivan Gakhov.

Tsitsipas takes on either Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi or Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

Djokovic, 35, has not played since losing to Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals of the Dubai Championships five weeks ago, which ended the Australian Open champion’s 20-match winning streak.

Rafael Nadal, second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz, and seventh-ranked Felix Auger-Aliassime pulled out of the Monte Carlo tournament.

Nadal has won it a record 11 times, including an Open era record streak of eight consecutive titles from 2005 to 2012.

But the 22-time Grand Slam champion has been sidelined with a left hip flexor injury since the Australian Open.

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