Andrey Rublev defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to capture his third tour-level title of the season on Sunday, as the Russian completed his Serbia Open debut in style.
In a hard-fought clash, the second dug deep against Djokovic as he hit with relentless power and intensity to outlast the home favourite 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-0 at the ATP 250 clay-court event. The 24-year-old saved five set points in the second set to force a tie-break and while he was unable to prevent Djokovic from levelling the match, Rublev regrouped in the decider as he looked the fitter of the two to triumph after two hours and 29 minutes.
“It is big to play against you and share the court for the second time,” Andrey Rublev said to Djokovic during the trophy ceremony.
“I hope we have more battles. I feel so great here, it is a very nice city. It feels really special. I want to say a big thanks to all the spectators for supporting all the players all week. To see full crowds again is special for all of us,” he added.
Rublev has now equalled Spaniard Rafael Nadal for the most tour-level titles in 2022, having also clinched crowns in Marseille and Dubai in February.
Djokovic was competing in his third event of the season as he aimed to clinch his maiden title of the year.
(Inputs from ANI)