Belgrade, May 29 (IANS) World No 1 Novak Djokovic bagged his 83rd career title with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of 23-year-old Slovak qualifier Alex Molcan in the Belgrade Open on Saturday.
The Serbian star lost his serve thrice in the first set before upping his game to defeat Molcan — the first-time ATP Tour finalist — in 88 minutes.
“It’s been a while since I last played here in front of a [home] crowd,” said Djokovic.
“We played here one month ago [at the Serbia Open], without a crowd. To hold a trophy here after 10 years is really special, and it couldn’t be better ahead of Roland Garros. I am playing well, feeling good and I have spent quality time with my family.”
Djokovic, who captured a record ninth Australian Open crown in February, has now won three titles in Belgrade, including two at the Serbian Open in 2009 and 2011. The 34-year-old improves to a 20-3 record on the season and will next travel to Paris, where he will play American Tennys Sandgren in the French Open first round.
“I’m feeling good and tired,” said Molcan, ranked No. 255 in the ATP rankings.
“I made my first ATP Tour final from qualification. I played good tennis here and I was fighting. Today, I tried as well, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t play badly, but I was playing against Djokovic, and you have to play unbelievably well. Hopefully, I can continue to have opportunities to play at this level. It was a big lesson today to play against Novak.”