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Djokovic Wins All-Serbian Match; Troicki Flies Home Flag In Belgrade

Belgrade, Serbia

Novak Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic needed three sets to beat countryman Janko Tipsarevic.

World No. 3 Novak Djokovic made a strong finish to his second-round opening match at the inaugural Serbia Open 2009, an ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament, defeating fellow Belgrade-native Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 on Wednesday.

Djokovic failed to convert on his five break point opportunities in the second set and was broken once as Tipsarevic sent the match to a decisive set. Serbia’s top player then stepped up his game, dropping just four points on serve in the third set and capitalizing on three of his six break points to close out the win in two hours.

The 21-year-old Djokovic, who improves to a 31-10 season record, has reached the finals in his past three tournament appearances. He finished runner-up to Andy Murray at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament in Miami, and to Rafael Nadal at the clay-court events at Monte-Carlo and Rome. In February, he won his 12th ATP World Tour title by defeating David Ferrer in the Dubai final.

Djokovic next goes to face another Belgrade-native, fifth seed Viktor Troicki, who advanced to his third ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Marcel Granollers. Troicki has won his one previous meeting against Djokovic, prevailing in a 7-5 third set two years ago at the clay-court tournament in Umag.

The 23-year-old Troicki enjoyed his best results at the start of the season, when he reached the quarter-finals in Auckland (l. to del Potro) and the semi-finals in Zagreb (l. to Cilic) before winning an ATP Challenger Tour event in his hometown (d. Hrbaty). The right-hander, who won his first clay-court match last week in Rome, improved to a 14-11 match record on the season.

Kristof Vliegen prevailed in an all-Belgian meeting to oust eighth seed Christophe Rochus 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 and reach his second quarter-final of the season. The 26-year-old Vliegen, formerly ranked No. 30 but currently No. 105 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings, has a 5-7 match record on the season. Coming into the Serbia Open, the Maaseik native had not won an ATP World Tour main-draw match since reaching the quarter-finals in Johannesburg (l. to Tsonga).

Vliegen is bidding to reach his first semi-final since Halle (l. to Berdych) in June 2006 and will face Polish lucky loser Lukasz Kubot, who advanced when third-seeded Russian Igor Andreev retired with a rib injury trailing 2-3 in the first set of their second-round match. The No. 179-ranked Kubot gained entry into the draw when Steve Darcis withdrew with a shoulder injury and made the most of his opportunity by defeating Serbian wild card Arsenije Zlatanovic in straight sets to win just his second match of the season.

Remaining first-round action was completed on Wednesday. Italian qualifier Flavio Cipolla held his nerve to oust Cypriot wild card Marcos Baghdatis 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the first match of the day after play had been suspended at one-set all due to darkness on Tuesday evening. Argentine Brian Dabul set up a second-round meeting with No. 2 seed Ivo Karlovic after crushing Nicolas Massu 6-2, 6-1, while his compatriot Leonardo Mayer will challenge fourth seed Andreas Seppi after defeating Wayne Odesnik 6-3, 6-2.

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