Djokovic to play Rublev in Serbia final

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Novak Djokovic has booked a place in the Serbia Open final after overcoming another slow start to defeat Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-1 6-2.

The world No.1 came back from a set down for the third consecutive match on Saturday, following hard-fought wins over Miomir Kecmanovic and Laslo Djere, to reach his third final at his hometown tournament at the Novak Tennis Centre in Belgrade .

The 20-time grand slam champion has won the event in 2009 and 2011 but will face a formidable opponent as he goes for his hat-trick after Russian Andrey Rublev outplayed Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-2 in the other semi.

Djokovic, bidding for his first title of a difficult year, opened his clay-court season with a surprising loss to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.

That was his first match since being eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Championships in February, his return to competition after being barred from the Australian Open because of his unvaccinated COVID status which also kept him ut of US tournaments last month.

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