Djokovic, Lopez reach Serbia Open final

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Top seed Novak Djokovic reached the Serbia Open final without hitting a ball on Saturday after fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic pulled out of their semi-final with a thigh injury. Djokovic, who will enter Sunday’s final with a 26-0 record in 2011 after winning four tournaments in a row including the Australian Open in January, meets Feliciano Lopez after the Spaniard beat Italy’s Filippo Volandri 7-6 6-2. Tipsarevic said after the quarter-finals he was looking forward to battle with close friend Djokovic, but the injury he sustained in a strength-sapping win over Somdev Devvarman will also force him to miss next week’s Madrid Masters.
“Tipsarevic was forced to withdraw from the tournament with a right leg injury and the world number 36 will also skip the Madrid Masters next week,” the Serbia Open organisers said on their website (www.serbiaopen.rs). Djokovic will start as the strong favourite against world number 37 Lopez having won all three of their previous meetings, the latest en route to his 2011 Dubai Championships title. Earlier, Djokovic settled an old score with a childhood rival when he beat Slovenian Blaz Kavcic 6-3 6-2 to reach the semi-finals. Djokovic was 4-1 up when the umpire ordered play to continue despite heavy rain and facing a break point, the home favourite sat down and waited for the slippery lines to be mopped up before he dropped his serve.
But it was only a temporary blip as the winner of this year’s Australian Open, Dubai Championships and Master series events in Miami and Indian Wells regained his composure to seal the match in 1 hour 25 minutes. “I remember very well losing to Kavcic 10 years ago in an under-14 tournament, I haven’t forgotten the result either and I had a score to settle here today,” Djokovic said with a wry smile in a courtside interview. “We grew up together and I really wish him all the best in his future endeavours. “Pressure is part of the game, especially in front of your own fans but it’s also a very special feeling to be here and I am looking forward to playing against Janko. “The most important thing is that Serbia will have one player in the final and may the best player win what should be a very entertaining match,” he said. Tipsarevic beat India’s Somdev Devvarman 6-3 3-6 6-4 in a rip-roaring contest which lasted 2 hours 38 minutes.