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Lopez Halts Gonzalez Comeback In Belgrade

Belgrade, Serbia

Fernando Gonzalez© Stevanovic/MilosavljevicFernando Gonzalez fell to Feliciano Lopez in Belgrade Wednesday.

Novak Djokovic improved to 25-0 in 2011, making his clay-court season debut at his home event in Belgrade Wednesday night with a 6-2, 6-3 win against qualifier Andrian Ungur. The World No. 2 pressured the Romanian's serve, winning 57 per cent of his return points and broke Ungur five times in his six opportunties. In the quarter-finals, Djokovic faces fellow Serb Blaz Kavcic,who defeated Ricardo Mello 7-5, 6-3 earlier in the day to advance to his second tour level quarter-final in 2011 (Chennai).

Feliciano Lopez derailed Fernando Gonzalez’s comeback, taking out the Chilean 6-4, 7-6(4). Gonzalez was playing his first tournament since the 2010 US Open after having right hip surgery last October. "Feliciano served really good and he came to the net on the important points. He won a couple that changed the outcome of the match," Gonzalez told reporters afterwards.

The Spaniard was satisfied with his performance against the former World No. 5. "I think I played great. Compared to the match yesterday, I played better. I'm so happy to win, especially against Fernando, on clay and on that surface, which is not my favorite."

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Despite losing, Gonzalez was positive after the match and knows it will take time to regain the form he's known for. "I have things to improve. Nothing to worry [about]. I'm going to play more matches," said Gonzalez. "This week I was surprised in a good way with how I felt. I was running, I was sliding, I felt really good on the court. I need to improve on my forehand side, and hit more balls but in competition."

Lopez was impressed by the level Gonzalez displayed in their match. "I think Fernando played well. He went almost a year without playing, but it seems like he was not injured, because of the way he hit the ball. He was serving well, hitting the forehand unbelievably."

The win puts the World No. 37 into his second straight ATP World Tour quarter-final (Barcelona). He next plays countryman Albert Montanes, who rallied from a set down to beat Michael Berrer 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. The 30-year-old-Spaniard is making his first appearance in Belgrade and is into the quarter-finals for a third time this season.

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