Novak Djokovic eased into the final of the ATP tournament in Belgrade on Friday despite losing his form in the second set, beating Slovakia’s Andrej Martin as he steps up his preparations for Roland Garros.
The World No. 1 saw off his 119th-ranked opponent 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.
It will be the Serbian’s third final of the year after his Australian Open triumph and his final loss to Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open last week, but his first on home soil since 2011.
“I’m super excited to play in front of a Serbian crowd. This is my home town. I’m always excited, but also nervous, coming out on the court and playing in front of my home crowd,” Djokovic said.
“It’s a very unique feeling. You feel a lot of pressure and expectations. But I’m just happy to fight for a trophy tomorrow.”
After racing through the first set against Martin, Djokovic uncharacteristically took his foot off the gas and was broken three times in the second set.
The 34-year-old was back to his best in the decider, though, quickly ending any thought of a surprise comeback.
Meanwhile at Parma, Italian Marco Cecchinato made the finals of the Emilia-Romagna Open, putting up a fight to beat Spain’s Jaume Munar 7-6(2), 1-6, 6-1.
The results: Semifinals: At Belgrade: Belgrade Open: Novak Djokovic bt Andrej Martin 6-1, 4-6, 6-0.
At Parma: Emilia-Romagna Open: Marco Cecchinato bt Jaume Munar 7-6(2), 1-6, 6-1.