Former 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert saw encouraging signs in Novak Djokovic’s match at the Serbian Open in Belgrade. World No. 1 Djokovic got the clay season off to a slow start as he suffered a shock defeat in his Monte Carlo Masters opener against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
After an early exit from Monte Carlo, Djokovic bounced back in Belgrade as he reached the tournament final. Djokovic’s path to the final wasn’t the easiest of the smoothest, but he still managed to win several close matches and give himself a title shot.
Djokovic recovered from a set down to beat Laslo Djere, Miomir Kecmanovic and Karen Khachanov, before losing to Andrey Rublev in the final. “No matter what happens today and @DjokerNole isn’t at his best yet, but he’s made progress and digged a lot of matches; that must be encouraging,” Evert tweeted.
Djokovic ran out of gas in the third set
Djokovic won a tight second set to force a decider but then lacked energy as Rublev won 6-2 6-7(4) 6-0.
“I apologize for the way the 3rd set went. It’s an individual sport, when something fails the engine can’t work. Lots of emotions, thanks for pushing me all the way. final,” Djokovic said. Djokovic had a chance to claim the first break of the game in game four but failed to earn a break point.
Djokovic paid the price for blowing a break point as Rublev claimed back-to-back breaks in games five and seven to claim the opening set. Djokovic missed a break early in the second set and several set points in the 10th and 12th games, but scored his seventh set point in the second set tie-break to force a decider.
After putting together a tight second set, Djokovic ran out of gas and easily lost the third set. Djokovic will now take a week off and return to action at the Madrid Masters in early May.