Djokovic advances to final of exhibition tourney in Croatia - GulfToday

Djokovic advances to final of exhibition tourney in Croatia


Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action against Croatia’s Borna Coric during an exhibition match. Reuters

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 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.”

Meanwhile, Djokovic has charmed many over the years with his exploits on the tennis courts but the men’s world number one now also has an admirer of his basketball skills in American great LeBron James.

Djokovic, who has been busy organising an exhibition tennis tournament in the Balkan region while the professional season is suspended due to the novel coronavirus, posted a video of himself trying some basketball moves on social media.

The video, addressed to James, shows the 33-year-old Djokovic taking a few dribbles before knocking down a mid-range jumpshot.

“Am I ready for a 1:1 @KingJames?” asked Djokovic, who previously termed Kobe Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who died in a helicopter crash in January, a great mentor and friend.

The NBA star did not take long to respond.

“Ha! I’m going to say I think you are!! Beautiful follow-thru on that shot buddy!” James said in his reply on Twitter.


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