Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic pulled off the biggest win of his career at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday, stunning Dominic Thiem in the third round of the Masters 1000 event, 6-3, 6-3.
Thiem went into the match as a heavy favorite—not only was he by far the higher-ranked player, No. 5 to No. 48, but he’s been one of the most dangerous players on clay in recent years, reaching his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros last year. Also, he handed 11-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal his only two losses on the surface since the start of 2017, at Rome in 2017 and Madrid in 2018.
The Austrian had also beaten Lajovic in all five of their previous meetings, dropping just one set.
But Lajovic came out swinging this time, racing out to a 5-1 lead and eventually closing out the 40-minute first set three games later. Thiem retaliated in the second set, breaking en route to a 3-1 lead, but Lajovic went on another streak from there, reeling off five games in a row to seal the victory.
Lajovic closed it out on his third match point after Thiem mis-hit a backhand wide.
“I’m very happy today. I didn’t expect this, especially not in two sets against a player like Dominic,” Lajovic told ATPTour.com. “This was for sure my best match in my life, I think. I produced some great tennis from the beginning until the end and I’m very happy to be in the quarterfinals in Monaco.”
The 28-year-old Serb scored the fourth and biggest Top 10 win of his career over the World No. 5, his first three coming against a No. 6-ranked Juan Martin del Potro in Madrid last May, a No. 8-ranked Grigor Dimitrov in Beijing last October, and just a few weeks ago against a No. 6-ranked Kei Nishikori in Miami.
He’s now through to the second Masters 1000 quarterfinal of his career, having reached the final eight at another Masters 1000 on clay in Madrid last year. He lost to Kevin Anderson there.
Awaiting Lajovic in the final eight here will be Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego, who reached his first career Masters 1000 quarterfinal with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Brit Cameron Norrie earlier in the day.
Sonego had taken out No. 8 seed Karen Khachanov in the second round.
Lajovic and Sonego will be playing each other for the first time.
“I know what I’ve seen is very good. He’s going to be a very good player - he’s already a very good player,” Lajovic said of Sonego. “He’s young and playing one of the best tournaments of his career, so it’s not going to be easy. I’ll need to keep my focus, go on court and hopefully play like today.”