Djokovic qualifies for his 4th final of the season

Djokovic qualifies for his 4th final of the season

Serbian Novak Djokovic (world seventh) qualified for the final of the ATP 250 tournament in Tel Aviv on Saturday, his fourth of the season, beating the Russians in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 (7/ 3) beat Roman Safiullin (104th), in an hour and 35 minutes.

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“I think it was a very open game, especially in the second set. I have to say that I got emotional on the court in the second set today, there was a lot of tension, and that was also due to his rather aggressive tennis style: big serves and, when he has time, solid on both sides,” smiled “Djoko”, 35, after his victory.

The man with 21 Grand Slam titles will contest the 127th final of his professional career on hard court and indoors.

He’s already won 88, so about two out of three. His final opponents will be the Croatian Marin Cilic or the surprising Frenchman Constant Lestienne, 30, 68th in the world.

Djokovic wandered in the first set (6-1), didn’t concede a break point and then served in the second set at 5-4 for the match, but Safiullin, armed with a big serve, managed to extend the suspense until a crucial game where he winced: An unforced error on an easy forehand followed by a double fault gave “Nole” the crucial 4-1 advantage.

“I knew I had to be very consistent because he was bound to raise his level in the second set and that’s exactly what happened,” added Djokovic.

“Serving for the game (5-4) I played poorly by two points and he had the merit of exploiting that to come back. It was a very pleasant evening on the pitch.”

After losing the final in Belgrade in April, winning in Rome in May on clay and winning his new Wimbledon title in July on grass, Djokovic has had to give up American tournaments, including the United States Open, to avoid being there against COVID-19 vaccinated (which had already meant he was unable to defend his chances in Australia).

“He hadn’t played an official game until last week’s Laver Cup by Teams between Europe and the rest of the world in London.