Sports, Tennis

Djokovic survives scare to beat Djere

Published : 21 Apr 2022 11:58 PM

Novak Djokovic battled back from a set and a break down to beat Laslo Djere in his opening match of the ATP event in Belgrade Wednesday, avoiding a third consecutive defeat.

The world No 1 trailed 4-3 in the second set but won a dramatic encounter against his fellow Serb 2-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4) after three hours and 21 minutes.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion is playing in just his third tournament of the season after being deported from Australia before the Australian Open over his Covid vaccination status.

Djokovic also missed the Indian Wells and Miami Open events in the United States.

After a surprise quarter-final exit to unheralded Czech Jiri Vesely in Dubai in February, he returned at the Monte Carlo Masters last week but lost to eventual runner-up Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first match.

Djokovic had to watch on as long-time rival Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open to clinch a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam singles title, moving him out of a tie with Djokovic and Roger Federer.

He will be hoping to hit back at the French Open, which starts on May 22 and where he is the defending champion after an epic final victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas last year.

It has been a tough start to 2022 for the 34-year old on and off the court, but he showed all his fighting qualities Wednesday despite not being at his best.

Djokovic will next face another compatriot, Miomir Kecmanovic, in the quarter-finals after his 6-4, 7-6 (7/5) win over Australian John Millman.