Novak Djokovic survived a scare before overcoming Andrej Martin 6-1 4-6 6-0 to advance to the final of his home tournament at the Belgrade Open.
After racing through the opener, Djokovic suffered a second-set blip against the qualifier but was able to shrug off the shock of dropping his first set of the week to advance to the final.
Djokovic has won in his home city on two occasions, but the most recent was in 2011.
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After a seven-year stretch where an event in Serbia fell off the calendar, the Belgrade Open returned to the schedule this year - the second to be played in the city in 2021.
Djokovic suffered a surprise defeat in the semi-finals of the Serbia Open in April, but he ensured there was no repeat and he is looking forward to playing in front of home fans in the final at the Novak Tennis Centre.
“I’m super excited to play in front of a Serbian crowd,” Djokovic said. “This is my hometown.
“I’m always excited, but also nervous, coming out on the court and playing in front of my home crowd.
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.
After powering through the opening set, Djokovic’s level dipped in the second. He was ahead at 4-3, but dropped his serve via a double fault and a series of errors allowed Martin to level the match.
Djokovic regrouped and after looking shaky on serve in the second, he was rock solid in the decider and broke on three occasions to bagel his Slovakian opponent.
The world number one will come up against another Slovakian in the final, after Alex Molcan rallied from a set down to beat Federico Delbonis 4-6 6-4 6-4.
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