ATP Tel Aviv: Novak Djokovic tops Romas Safiullin and reaches final



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ATP Tel Aviv: Novak Djokovic tops Romas Safiullin and reaches final

Novak Djokovic is through to his 127th ATP final and the fourth of the season in Tel Aviv. Novak took down the Russian Roman Safiullin 6-1, 7-6 in an hour and 34 minutes and set Sunday's title clash against Marin Cilic.

Roman came to Tel Aviv with nine ATP wins and played well to move into the semi-final. He gave his best against Novak in the second set before the Serb grabbed the tie break to avoid a decider. Djokovic played better behind the first and second serve and defended two out of three break chances.

He dominated the second serve and grabbed three breaks from seven opportunities to emerge at the top and remain on the title course. Djokovic had the upper hand in the shortest and mid-range rallies, taming his strokes nicely and bouncing back after losing serve in the second set's closing stages.

The Serb held in the encounter's opening game with a service winner and created three break points in game two.

Novak Djokovic defeated Roman Safiullin in straight sets.

He converted the first after Roman's double fault and fired a service winner in game three to cement the advantage.

With nothing working his way, Safiullin faced three break points in game four and saved them to reach deuce. The Russian fended off the fourth break point with a backhand down the line winner before spraying a forehand error on the fifth to fall 4-0 behind.

Novak landed an ace in game five to open a 5-0 gap in 17 minutes before Roman wrapped up the next one with a forehand winner to avoid a bagel and get his name to the scoreboard. Djokovic served for the set in game seven and held at love to claim the opener 6-1 in 23 minutes.

Safiullin made a better start in the second set and landed an ace in game three for 2-1. The Russian earned his first break point in game six, and the Serb denied it with a booming serve. Novak repeated that on the second break point and brought the game home with an ace for 3-3.

Roman squandered a game point at 4-4 and experienced a break after Novak's volley winner at the net. Djokovic served for the victory in game ten and suffered a break after a costly double fault that kept Safiullin in contention.

Both players served well in games 11 and 12 to introduce a tie break. The Serb opened a 4-1 gap after the Russian's double fault in the fifth point and earned four match points after Roman's loose forehand in the eighth point. Novak seized the second at 6-3 with an ace to emerge at the top and move into the title clash.