Novak Djokovic reached his first final of the year at the Serbia Open on Saturday after recovering from a set down to beat Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-1 6-2 and described his home support as “phenomenal”.
The world number one will face another Russian, Andrey Rublev, who defeated Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-2, as he bids for a third Belgrade crown, and the 87th title of his career.
“As soon as the second set started I was just feeling the ball, particularly the backhand which was not working in the first set,” said Djokovic.
“The second and third sets were the best two sets of the season for me. I used the crowd energy which was phenomenal, probably the best atmosphere that I played in my entire life.”
The Belgrade event is only Djokovic’s third of 2022. He was deported from Melbourne — and denied the chance to defend his Australian Open title — after he entered the country unvaccinated.