Novak Djokovic has progressed through the first round of the Serbia Open with a 2-6 7-6(6) 7-6(4) victory over Laslo Djere.
The world No.1 is bidding to ramp up preparations for the French Open next month, and after crashing out of the Monte Carlo Masters against eventual finalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the opening round last week, it looked as if Djokovic may lose again in front of a home crowd in Belgrade after losing the first set.
But the 20-time Grand Slam winner fought back in style for his 992nd career win and will play Miomir Kecmanovic in the last eight.
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Djere got off to the perfect start, breaking Djokovic to move into a 2-0 lead before sealing a double break in the seventh game to move into a 5-2 lead.
Djokovic had a break point opportunity as Djere attempted to serve out the ste, but the latter eventually got the job done by sealing it on his fourth set point.
The second set was far tighter as the pair were locked on serve until Djere sealed a potentially decisive break to go 4-3 up when Djokovic hit a forehand into the tramlines.
But Djokovic responded instantly in the following game by breaking back thanks to a Djere unforced error, letting out a passionate roar towards his team afterwards.
Djere squandered a vital break point opportunity to move into a 5-4 lead and instead Djokovic moved to within a game of the second set thanks to a thumping forehand and an unreturnable serve.
Djere rescued three break point at 6-5 down to ensure the second set would go to a tie-break.
Djokovic had two set point opportunities, but Djere made the most of his weak second serve to tie at 6-6. Djokovic took the next two points, finishing off with a forehand winner after a Djere shot bounced off the net cord.
Djokovic got off to a perfect start in the third set, securing a break to take a lead for the first time in the match after Djere hit a backhand wide, but his opponent would not fold and instantly broke back.
Djere held his serve after a mammoth game to take a 6-5 lead, but Djokovic would seal the win in a tie-break, coming from 3-4 down to take it 7-4.
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