7 -6 (7/5), 6-2 in 1:47.

“I had never seen him play before today, and it’s always difficult to face an opponent you don’t know,” explained the Serb.

Big favorite for a third coronation on Monegasque soil in the absence of Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz, he will face for a place in the quarterfinals Lorenzo Musetti (21st) or Luca Nardi (159th).

Prevented from participating in the spring tour in the United States for lack of an anti-covid vaccine, the co-holder with Nadal of the record of 22 Grand Slam titles has put an end to the journey of the astonishing Gakhov, who went through the qualifications and winner of Mackenzie McDonald ( 52nd) in the first round.

But the game was not as easy as expected.

It was Gakhov who was the first to prove dangerous by scoring the first break of the match to lead 4-3. Stung, Djokovic broke immediately to cancel the break, but could not prevent the set from ending in the tiebreaker where he concluded on his first set point.

The second run was one-sided even though Gakhov hung on until the end.

“I didn’t play well in the first set while he did. In the second, I raised my level of play”, analyzed Djokovic who committed a lot of unforced errors in the first set.

Double winner at Roland-Garros, he also has only two titles in the Principality (2013 and 2015) out of the record 38 won in all of the Masters 1000.