Former doubles world No. 27 Nick Monroe said Novak Djokovic definitely didn't play his best tennis in his Belgrade opener but gave credit to the world No. 1 for once again finding a way to win when things weren't pretty for him.
Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, survived a challenging Belgrade opener as he defeated Laslo Djere 2-6 7-6 (6) 7-6 (4). Djokovic appeared to be on the brink of a defeat after Djere broke the Serb in the second set to open a 6-2 4-3 lead.
Djere had a 40-15 lead in the eighth game but failed to serve out for a 6-2 5-3 lead as Djokovic broke back and that was the start of his comeback. "Novak Djokovic was just able to find a way, and again no one cares about how you get the W (win)," Monroe said on Tennis Channel, as quoted on Sportskeeda.
"A lot of people are gonna see the score, he won 7-6 in the third, he got the W. No one's gonna see the short forehands that Djere missed in that second and third set, which would have put him over the line. But again, getting through those tough moments, that's what Novak Djokovic does so well."
Djokovic clinched his first clay win
Last week, Djokovic suffered a shock Monte Carlo exit after losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his opener at the tournament.
Djokovic arrived to Belgrade needing matches and wins and he would have been in a difficult spot had he started his clay season with a 0-2 record. "I liked the way I managed to physically hold on and push through and survive a thriller of almost three-and-a-half hours," Djokovic said after beating Djere.
"That's the positive difference compared to Monte Carlo, where I just wasn't able to physically sustain the third set. Today, that was different. If there are positives, I think that's the one." After beating Djere, Djokovic also defeated Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarterfinal.
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