The Serbian needed three sets to defeat qualifier Andrej Martin at the Belgrade Open.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Friday reached his first ATP Tour final on home soil since 2011. The Serbian needed three sets to defeat qualifier Andrej Martin at the Belgrade Open. After a tight battle in the first two sets, Djokovic ran riot in the third to win the match 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 at the Novak Tennis Centre to book a place in the championship match. Djokovic will next face the winner of eighth seed Federico Delbonis and qualifier Alex Molcan.
The Serbian is now seeking his 83rd tour-level title and his third in Belgrade. He has won two titles on home soil in 2009 and 2011 during the event’s previous four-year run. “I’m super excited to play in front of a Serbian crowd. This is my home town. I’m always excited, but also nervous, coming out on the court and playing in front of my home crowd,” Djokovic said in an on-court interview.
“It’s a very unique feeling. You feel a lot of pressure and expectations. But I’m just happy to fight for a trophy tomorrow,” he added. Djokovic started the match on the front foot, easing his way through the opening set. The Serb lost just one game to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Martin, however, made it extremely difficult in the final game but Djokovic hanged on to win the game and the set.
That game provided the Slovakian qualifier the momentum to start the second set on a positive note to break first for a 2-0 lead. Djokovic fought back and looked to be on course to win the set and the match. But a few unforced errors allowed the Slovakian to come back into the match once again to take Djokovic into his first deciding set of the week.
Djokovic bounced back in some style. He did not face a single break point across the last six games as he won the set 6-0 to reach the 119th final of his career in Belgrade.
“I thought I started and finished the match really well, so I’ll try to take those positive feelings into tomorrow’s final,” Djokovic said. “I also had some letdowns in concentration towards the end of the second set, and I’ll try to correct those mistakes for tomorrow.”