Novak Djokovic has left the tennis world in a frenzy after sealing an incredible comeback victory at the Serbia Open in style.
Djokovic came back from a set down against a Serbian compatriot for the second successive day to reach the Belgrade semi-finals on Thursday.
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The World No.1 saw off in-form Miomir Kecmanovic - ranked at 38 in the world - 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to book his spot in the final four.
Djokovic, chasing a third title at the Serbia Open and a fourth ATP Tour title overall in his home city, will face third seed Karen Khachanov for a place in the final.
The 20-time grand slam winner did it the hard way against Kecmanovic, but showed glimpses he was getting back to his best by finding another gear towards the end of the match.
In fact, the final two points of the match showcased Djokovic at his very best and illustrated why many regard his backhand as one of the finest in the history of the sport.
The first was a stunning two-handed backhand pass from way behind the baseline, that left Kecmanovic stranded at the net.
The second - to clinch the match - was an inch-perfect backhand winner down the line that drew a mighty roar from the home fans and a clearly delighted Djokovic.
Amazing 2 points to finish it from Djokovic 🤩 HE'S BACK! Can't keep a good man/🐐 down for long. https://t.co/8EEKJgdw4S
— Lil' Bardi (fan account) (@LilBardi__) April 21, 2022
Hell of a finish by Djokovic to come back from a set and break down for the second day in a row against a very worthy adversary. pic.twitter.com/hhuZtR9JQf
— Stephanie Myles (@OpenCourt) April 21, 2022
To his defense he played as well as he could, Djokovic's level increased significantly at the end!
— AM22PM (@AM22PM) April 21, 2022
What a way to win the match.
Back-to-back backhand winners!
That roar at the end. Tears in my eyes.
Novak Djokovic is back. The wolf has awoken. Idemo!
— Afriyie 🐺 (@theafriyie_) April 21, 2022
Congratulations Novak Djokovic! Welcome back to the Tour! 🇷🇸
What a shot to end it! Vintage backhand down the line winner. Great comeback from the World No. 1#SerbiaOpen 🎾
— Tennis-Point USA (@tennis_point_US) April 21, 2022
What a way to end a Match, Novak Djokovic!
— James (@aiamjames) April 21, 2022
Djokovic backhand down the line is the best tennis shot in history https://t.co/YzmzD11Tbz
— YZ 🐊 (@Yaqoobzz) April 21, 2022
Novak Djokovic through after another comeback win
"Kecmanovic was very solid, he was not missing much. He was really moving well but generally I felt better than I did yesterday even if I was a set and a break down," said Djokovic.
"I felt gamewise I took it up a level or two. I believed I will get my chances. When they are presented to me, I use them."
Djokovic had also needed three sets to beat Lazlo Djere in his opening round on Wednesday as he gears up towards the defence of his French Open title in Paris next month.
"Physically I managed to push through again. Another two and half hour match and I am not too tired," continued Djokovic.
"(Kecmanovic) helped me a little bit, he made some 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 and after that I played the best three games of the match."
The Belgrade event is only Djokovic's third of 2022 after he was deported from Melbourne - and denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title - after entering the country unvaccinated.
He was also barred from playing at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters over his controversial Covid-19 stance.
The 34-year-old made the last-eight in Dubai in February and then lost his opening match at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.
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