Disappointed, sad, knowing that he failed his people, this is how Novak Djokovic left the Belgrade Tournament. The world number one lost a great game, although full of errors, against Russian Aslán Karatsev who qualified for the grand final of the event, where he will wait for the winner of the other semi-final between Italian Matteo Berrettini and Japanese Taro Daniel.
The Serbian was beaten in three sets, with partials of 5-7, 6-4 and 6-4, reaffirming that he did not start the European tour on brick dust with the best sensations. First Monte Carlo and now Belgrade, “Nole” is far from the best version of him and one that will allow him to get his second championship at Roland Garros.
A difficult game was expected, against a Karatsev who had also left doubts throughout the week, and # 1 started well, with a 'break' in favor and winning the first set. But little by little his rival was reacted, who stayed with the second sleeve and forced a third and final one.
It was in the seventh ‘game’ when Karatsev took advantage of his opportunity and stole the serve from Djokovic, which he defended until the end. The Serbian still had two break opportunities at the last point, but failed against an Aslán who kept flirting with the lines over and over again.
In the end he took advantage of the multiple unforced errors of the big favorite to the title. Karatsev showed great mental strength, saving 23 of the 28 break opportunities that Djokovic generated, and in turn breaking his serve six times.
Thus ended the journey of the best in the world for the ATP 250 of his country.
Novak Djokovic after his loss in Belgrade
"Roland Garros still stays the main focus for me," Novak Djokovic said. "(But) I need to improve, I need to play better.
In order to have a chance for the trophy at Roland Garros I have to play much better than what I did today or (in) Monte Carlo. So yeah, there's much work ahead of me. And hopefully it can be beneficial for me when it matters most in Paris."
Novak Djokovic has been heavily involved in the organization of the Serbia Open, where his brother Djordje is the tournament director. "It was a good week, and a successful tournament in general for us," Djokovic added.
"I'll hopefully play (here) in four or five weeks again, that's the plan. Let's see if that's going to happen. But Roland Garros is the goal, that's where I want to play my best."