Djokovic to play Rublev in Serbia Open final

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BELGRADE, Serbia — Novak Djokovic booked a place in the Serbia Open final after overcoming another slow start and Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday.

The top-ranked Serb came back from a set down for the third consecutive match after hard-fought wins over Miomir Kecmanovic and Laslo Djere to reach his third final at his hometown tournament.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion previously won the Serbia Open in 2009 and 2011.

Djokovic, who is bidding for his first title of the year, will face Andrey Rublev in Sunday’s final. The second-seeded Russian player defeated Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2 in the other semifinal.

Djokovic opened his clay-court season with a surprising loss to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at the Monte Carlo Masters last week, his first match since being eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships in February. Dubai was his first tournament of the year after he was barred from playing at the Australian Open because of his unvaccinated status, which also prevented him from playing tournaments in the United States last month.

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