djokovic: Novak Djokovic celebrates his second consecutive victory in Belgrade

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Novak Djokovic came back from a set against a fellow Serbian for the second straight day to reach the semi-finals in Belgrade on Thursday.

The world number one beat in-form Miomir Kecmanovic, ranked 38th in the world, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Djokovic, seeking a third Serbian Open title and a fourth overall ATP Tour title in his hometown, will face third seed Karen Khachanov for a place in the final.

“Kecmanovic was very solid, he wasn’t missing much. He was moving really well but in general I felt better than yesterday even though I was one set and one break,” Djokovic said.

“I felt that I had raised the level of play a level or two. I thought I would have my chances. When they are presented to me, I use them.”

Djokovic also needed three sets to beat Lazlo Djere in his opening round on Wednesday as he prepares to defend his French Open title next month in Paris.

“Physically, I managed to come back. Another two and a half hour game and I’m not too tired,” continued Djokovic.

“(Kecmanovic) helped me a bit, he made a few unforced errors towards the end of the second to give me the break. After that it was a whole different story.

“In the third it was even up to three all over and after that I played the best three games of the game.”

The Belgrade event is just Djokovic’s third in 2022 after he was kicked out of Melbourne – and denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title – after entering the country unvaccinated.

He has also been banned from playing at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters due to his controversial stance on Covid-19.

The 34-year-old played in the last quarter-final in Dubai in February and then lost his opener at the Monte-Carlo Masters last week.

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