Face and mint at the ATP Belgrade II. One month after the tournament played in that city, also on clay, Novak Djokovic, No. 1 in the world and a great favorite before his people, in his tournament in the place where he was born, advanced to the final. Instead, the Latin American lost in the race, the Argentine Federico Delbonis (52nd).
The local idol, owner of 18 Grand Slam crowns, just before Roland Garros, had reached the semifinal without giving up a set. And he lost it unexpectedly in his triumph over Slovak Andrej Martin (119th), who never reached the Top 90, by beating him 6-1, 4-6 and 6-0.
Despite his setback in the second chapter, the Serbian showed great superiority over his opponent. And it also avoided another surprise in that round, since a month before, in the first version 2021 of the ATP in Belgrade, the best of the professional circuit lost in three sets in the semifinal with the Russian Aslan Karatsev, Top 30 and great revelation of the season.
Djokovic thus got rid of a rival from the qualifying phase and will face on Saturday, in the definition, another Slovakian tennis player who emerged from the qualy of the Serbian competition, on clay.
This is Alex Molcan (255th in the ranking), who gave the surprise by beating Delbonis (52nd), Argentina’s hero in the 2016 Davis Cup victory against Crocia. The South American started better and had an advantage in the last set, but the victory went to the European player 4-6, 6-4 and 6-4.
In this tournament, Molcan achieved his first triumphs on the ATP major circuit and has already reached the final. To top it all, he is up against none other than Djokovic, who will play his 119th final on the tour, seeking his 83rd title.