DThanks to the third victory in three sets in a row, world number one Novak Djokovic can secure his first tennis title of the year in his Serbian homeland. In the semifinals in Belgrade on Saturday, the top seed defeated Russian Olympic finalist Karen Khachanov 4: 6, 6: 1, 6: 2 and reached the final for the first time this season. In the final on Sunday, the 34-year-old Serb will meet Andrei Rublev. The second seeded Russian professional gave the Italian Fabio Fognini little chance with 6: 2, 6: 2.
Djokovic had already had problems in the previous two rounds of the clay court tournament and needed three sets to advance against his two compatriots Laslo Djere and Miomir Kecmanovic. He lost the first set in all three matches.
Since he has not been vaccinated against the corona virus, Djokovic could not participate in any tournaments this season. Before the Australian Open, he lost a lawsuit and had to leave Australia before the tournament started. In Dubai in late February, the 20-time winner of the Grand Slam tournament was surprisingly eliminated in the quarterfinals. In Monte Carlo, after an obligatory break of weeks, he was unexpectedly over in his opening match.
With the final in Stuttgart, former French Open winner Iga Swiatek continued her impressive winning streak on the tennis tour. Number one in the world celebrated on Saturday their 22nd victory in a row in the semifinals with 6: 7 (4: 7), 6: 4, 7: 5 against the Russian outsider Lyudmila Samsonova. In front of about 4,000 spectators, the 20-year-old lost the first set since the victory in the round of 16 at Indian Wells in March against Angelique Kerber and won in an exciting and ultimately high-class meeting in just over three hours.
In the final on Sunday (13.00 on Eurosport), 20-year-old Swiatek can win its fourth title of the year against last year’s Belarus finalist Aryna Sabalenka. Fourth in the world rankings Aryna Sabalenka won earlier in the first semifinal over the Spanish top player Paula Badosa 7: 6 (7: 5), 6: 4. Last year, the Belarusian missed out on winning the title at the most important German women’s tennis tournament in the final against Australian Ashleigh Barty.
The hopes of the first German semi-finalist since 2017 had not been fulfilled. Laura Siegemund, who won the tournament five years ago, was eliminated in the quarterfinals as the last remaining German participant against Samsonowa. For Angelique Kerber, the loss of the first round of the EUR 611,210 tournament meant another setback this season.