A week ago in Monte Carlo, world no. 1 Novak Djokovic suffered his first loss of the season, beaten by Daniel Evans in the third round. Flying back home to Serbia, Novak entered his first ATP tournament at home in a decade and made a winning start, beating the young Korean Soonwoo Kwon 6-1, 6-3 in 68 minutes in front of the home fans.
Feeling great in his hometown for the last couple of days, Novak played well and overpowered the rival on both serve and return to march into the quarter-final. Djokovic did lose serve once while serving for the victory, but that would never change anything after a reliable performance on the return that saw him winning 55% of the points and seizing five breaks that carried him home.
Soonwoo couldn't follow Novak's pace in the opener, starting to hit better in set number two and showing the fighting spirit that led him towards three games. Novak lost only three points behind the initial shot in the opening set, challenging the rival to repeat that iuf he wanted to stay in contention.
Kwon was nowhere near that pace, getting broken twice, as Novak claimed the set 6-1.
Novak Djokovic beat Soonwoo Kwon 6-1, 6-3 at home in Belgrade.
The Korean netted a routine backhand in game two to suffer an instant break and squandered a game point at 0-3 to send Novak 4-0 in front.
The home favorite held at love a few minutes later and produced another dominant hold at 5-1 to grab the opener in style, hoping for more of the same in set number two. The Korean secured the second set's first game with a service winner, feeling better on the court in those moments but experiencing a break at 1-1 when Novak placed a backhand winner at the net.
The two-time Serbia Open champion confirmed the advantage with an unreturned serve and delivered the second straight break to open a 4-1 gap. Serving to stay in the match, Soonwoo held with an ace down the T line at 1-5 to extend the encounter and earned his first break chances in game eight.
Out of a sudden, Djokovic got broken after a forehand error, leaving that setback behind him and securing the victory with the fifth break in game nine.