Dominant Novak Djokovic on a roll

World No.1 Novak Djokovic reached the final of his exhibition tournament in Zadar, Croatia, after easing through the round-robin group stage on the first day. This is the second stage of the Adria Tour with Austrian Dominic Thiem winning the first leg in Belgrade, Serbia. Djokovic started by saving three set points in his 4-3, 4-1 win over fellow Serb Pedja Krstin. He then beat home favourite Borna Coric 4-1, 4-3 in front of several thousand fans at the Visnjik tennis complex.

The tournament in Zadar is being played on red clay over two days. In the other group, Russian Andrey Rublev is in pole position to advance into the final after wins over 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic and Serb Danilo Petrovic. He faces German star Alexander Zverev in the final round robin match on Sunday who stayed in contention after beating Cilic 4-3, 0-4, 4-3. Djokovic's own inconsequential final group match is against Croatian Dino Serdarusic who replaced Grigor Dimitrov after the Bulgarian pulled out of the tournament with sickness following his opening 4-1, 4-1 loss to Coric. "I hope we gave the crowd a good show," Djokovic said in a courtside interview.

"A few points here and there swung the tie my way. Many thanks to the fans who turned up and stayed late. The last few months have been difficult [because of the pandemic] and I hope you will come in numbers tomorrow too." Earlier, Djokovic appeared to row back on scepticism over plans to stage the US Open, saying he was "extremely happy" the Grand Slam had escaped the Coronavirus cull which claimed Wimbledon and much of the season. Djokovic had initially voiced unease over the United States Tennis Association's intention to keep the event starting on August 31 at Flushing Meadows despite New York being the hardest-hit city by the US Coronavirus crisis. He described health protocols as "extreme" and "impossible".

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