A two-time US Open quarter-finalist and multiple Masters 1000 semi-finalist Janko Tipsarevic had been ranked in the top-8 back in 2012 before starting to struggle with a right heel injury a year later, winning just 20 matches in 2013.
The worst was yet to come for a former junior Grand Slam champion, though, being forced to miss the entire 2014 with a benign soft tissue tumor and undergoing two surgeries in May and September to drop out from the rankings for the first time since 2000!
His first singles tournament after a comeback was Houston in 2015, scoring three wins in seven events and he was forced to end the season early again due to right knee patella tendonitis, not playing since the US Open. Janko was able to play more matches in 2016 and he grabbed eight ATP wins including the semi-final in Shenzhen together with the Challenger crown in Qingdao just before the US Open.
The start of 2017 could not have been better for the talented Serb, winning back-to-back Challenger titles in Bangkok and returning into the top-100 for the first time in almost three years in February. Janko won two more Challenger crowns in China in April but the US Open was once again the critical point for him, having to skip the rest of the year with surgery on both hamstring tendons that went on in Finland at the end of September.
Tipsarevic started to train again in December in Spain and he was back on the court in February at his Academy, working hard on another comeback. Nonetheless, it had to be postponed again as he decided to undergo another surgery in March in Munich, switched the focus to his Tennis Academy on two locations in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.
Tipsarevic planned to return in Banja Luka Challenger last September but he decided to wait and skip the entire season before making a long-awaited return at the Australian Open where he played the first match since the US Open 2017!
Grigor Dimitrov defeated him in four sets in the opening round and Janko felt confident to try again this week at Bangkok Challenger that he won twice two years ago. Tipsarevic needed an hour and 56 minutes to dismiss Tsung-Hua Yang 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 for the 21st straight wins in Challengers!
Both players struggled to find the first serve and Janko drew the most from that fact, losing serve four times but scoring six breaks on the other side to emerge as the winner and earn first points since September 2017. The Serb lost just five points on serve in the opening set, breaking Yang in the first game of the match after a double fault.
Janko moved 2-0 up with three service winners and he held everything under control, earning another break in game seven before firing a service winner to clinch the opener 6-2. After wasting game points in the fourth game of the second set, Tipsarevic got broken following a forehand winner from Tsung-Hua before pulling it back at love at 2-4 thanks to a double fault from his rival.
Servers won just two of the last 18 points, closing the set with four straight breaks and a forehand error from Janko that cost him the set in the tenth game. Yang had the upper hand in those moments and he moved 2-0 up in the third set when Tipsarevic sprayed a backhand error.
Tsung-Hua couldn't confirm the advantage, hitting a double fault in game three to suffer a break and falling 3-2 down after a fantastic forehand down the line winner from Janko. The Serb served well in the rest of the set, sealing the deal in game ten for the long-expected triumph.