For the third straight match this week, Novak Djokovic had to rally from a set down to stay alive in his home event, dispatching Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
It’s Djokovic’s first final of 2022 and first since Paris last fall.
“All three matches were key matches for me, to be honest,” said Djokovic. “Again I started not that great, losing the first set. I was a break down today as I was in the first two matches of the tournament. I think as soon as the second set started I was just feeling the ball and started swinging through particularly the backhand which wasn’t working in the first set.
“I was serving well, dictating the play, second and third sets, the best two sets of the season so far for me and against a really quality tennis player,” he added. “Khachanov is playing well. So it’s an important win. Of course, any win is important for me at the moment.
“Playing at home with the unbelievable support from the crowd always gives me goosebumps and the motivation to play my best and fight until the end.”
The Serb will for a fourth title in Belgrade and 87th overall tomorrow against another Russian in Andrey Rublev.
Rublev destroyed Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2.
“Today I played even better,” said Rublev referring to his quarterfinal win. “I think my best match of the tournament so far. It’s good that every match I’m playing better and better.”
Rublev will seek a 10th title. He’s won nine of his last 11 finals. Djokovic won their only meeting last fall at the ATP finals.
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