Novak Djokovic reacts after losing the Serbia Open final to Andrey Rublev

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Novak Djokovic

World No 1 Novak Djokovic remains without an ATP Tour title this season after losing to Russia’s Andrey Rublev in the final of the Serbia Open.

Djokovic fought back from a set down for the fourth time this week in front of his home fans in Belgrade, but ran out of steam in the decider as Rublev powered to a 6-2 6-7 (4) 6-0 victory in two hours and 29 minutes.

It was Rublev’s first win over a world number one and gives the 24-year-old a third tour-level title of the season – equalling the tally of Rafael Nadal – following previous victories in Marseille and Dubai in February.

Rublev broke Djokovic’s serve twice in the opening set and saved five set points in the second to force a tie-break, but Djokovic roared into a 5-2 lead and let out a roar of delight as he levelled the contest.

However, the efforts of the week then seemed to catch up with Djokovic and Rublev broke his opponent’s serve three times to storm through the decider without losing a game.

“It is big to play against you and share the court for the second time,” 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.”

Djokovic was philosophical after his defeat, as he stressed his focus is on peaking for the French Open next month.

“Things are progressing slowly but surely, Paris is the big goal and hopefully by Paris I’ll be ready,” said Djokovic.

“I have to look at the positives, playing the final in front of my home crowd, it was unfortunate that in the third set I ran out of gas and couldn’t deliver more of a fight,” said Djokovic.

“After four three-set battles I can say that I am tired but also pleased that I managed to win the matches prior to this one. I think that will serve me for the continuation of the clay court season.”

Djokovic is now preparing to play at the Madrid Masters event, where he will be No 1 seed for the draw.

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