Djokovic Begins Belgrade Open Title Bid With Win

Novak Djokovic (photo: Srdjan Stevanovic/Starsportphoto)


Novak Djokovic opened his home campaign at the Belgrade Open with a second-round victory over German lucky loser Mats Moraing on Tuesday afternoon. On another sunny day at the Novak Tennis Center, the World No. 1 broke the lefty’s serve four times to prevail 6-2, 7-6(4) after one hour and 40 minutes.

“It was the first time I played against him. I didn’t have too many chances to see him play,” said Djokovic about taking on the World No. 252 in the ATP Rankings.

“He did surprise me with the amount of firepower he has with his serve and his backhand. He was going for his shots. I was pretty much in control of it for a set and a half but then he had a couple of good games and I was too defensive. This forced me to go into the tie-break, which I played solid but he didn’t give me much rhythm. It was quite a nervy beginning of the tournament for me but I am glad to have overcome this kind of challenge in straight sets.”

Djokovic awaits Coria

Djokovic, who is vying for home glory and his 83rd career title, will take on Argentine alternate Federico Coria in his 185th quarterfinal on the ATP Tour. Coria edged out Pablo Cuevas from Uruguay 6-3, 6-2 in 75 minutes.

“Physically I felt great and I am pumped to play at home. I hear that we might have crowd for my next match. That’s going to be fantastic if I have this opportunity to feel their energy and support,” said Djokovic and added about his upcoming rival:

“It was interesting to see how Federico walks. He reminds me a lot of his older brother Guillermo,” Djokovic told the journalists with a smile. The Serbian faced former World No. 3 Guillermo Coria in the second round of the French Open at Roland-Garros 2005. “Federico is a fighter like his brother. He doesn’t give up. This fighting spirit is nice to see. He loves to play on clay, is still young and one of the rising stars in Argentina. He had an impressive win today against Cuevas and I am looking forward to a great encounter.” Djokovic and World No. 96 Coria will meet for the first time.

Molcan to face Verdasco

In other action, qualifier Alex Molcan continued his fine run of form by reaching the quarterfinals on the ATP Tour for the first time. The 23-year-old from Slovakia cruised past Serbian wild card entry Pedja Krstin 6-0, 6-0 in 68 minutes.

Up next for Molcan will be Fernando Verdasco. The veteran from Spain defeated No. 4 seed Adrian Mannarino of France 7-6(4), 6-0 after one hour and 30 minutes in the last match of the day.