Djokovic Cruises Into Semis At Belgrade Open

Novak Djokovic (photo: Srdjan Stevanovic/Starsportphoto)


Novak Djokovic reached the semi-finals of the Belgrade Open and established himself as fifth on the Open Era wins list by beating Argentine alternate Federico Coria 6-1, 6-0 on a sunny Thursday afternoon at the Novak Tennis Center.

The top seed of the ATP 250 clay-court tournament came out flawless right out of the gates and remained untroubled during his quarterfinal encounter, which took place in front of spectators for the first time this week. Djokovic converted six of his nine break-point opportunities to secure his 952nd match win, putting him just ahead of Guillermo Vilas (951), after only 55 minutes.

“It was a great performance,” Djokovic after his first meeting with the Argentine. “And probably one of the best matches, if not the best match, I played this year. I felt fantastic on the court from the first point.

“You won’t always want to play like this, it’s not always possible. But I think this definitely helps me feel better on the court. I think everything worked perfectly for me today.”

Djokovic will next take on Andrej Martin. The qualifier from Slovakia continued his fine run of form in Serbia with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over local favourite and No. 5 seed Dusan Lajovic. Martin outpointed his rival 95-87 after after two hours and 24 minutes.

Molcan into first semi-final

In the bottom half of the draw, Alex Molcan emerged victorious from the all-lefty affair with Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco, 6-2, 6-0. The 23-year-old Slovakian qualifier won 77 per cent of his first-service points and saved both of the two break points he faced to prevail after 62 minutes.

“This is the biggest win of my career,” said Molcan, who reached his first semi-final on the ATP Tour. “Fernando is a living legend and I am really happy to win today. I hope to continue at this level.”

The World No. 255, a winner of four ITF Pro Circuit singles title, will next challenge No. 8 seed Federico Delbonis of Argentina, who received a walkover into the stage of the final four from Spanish qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena. The 28-year-old from Tenerife was forced to withdraw from the match due to illness.