Novak Djokovic left reeling by Italian Open opponent Aslan Karatsev in final clay assembly | Tennis | Sport

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Novak Djokovic can be searching for revenge when he takes on Aslan Karatsev in his opening match on the Italian Open. It’s their first assembly in over a yr, after the world No 35 downed the Serb on house turf in Belgrade final yr, as Djokovic admitted he was “not pleased along with his efficiency” within the ATP 250 semi-final.Djokovic will start his Rome Masters marketing campaign towards the difficult Russian, who loved a breakout season in 2021 – beginning the yr at world No 112 and ending it at No 18. Considered one of his greatest wins of the yr got here towards the world No 1 in his house event of the Serbia Open, and they’re going to now face off for the primary time since.Karatsev’s breakthrough got here eventually yr’s Australian Open when he got here by means of qualifying to succeed in the semi-finals, the place he misplaced to Djokovic in straight units. However simply two months later he was ranked up at world No 28 and downed the 20-time Main champion 7-5 4-6 6-4.The world No 1 was left reeling after the hard-fought match, saying afterwards: “Hats off to Karatsev, he was daring and deserved to win. I’ll most likely not be capable of recollect all of the memorable rallies on this match as a result of I misplaced. I’m not pleased with my efficiency, I put up a battle however he delivered nice pictures each time he wanted to.”JUST IN: Federer and agent ‘plan Alcaraz proposal’ after teen catches his eye“That is positively [the biggest win of my career], it’s the World No 1,” Karatsev mentioned after their Serbia Open semi-final. “I’m actually pleased, I put all the pieces on the court docket. The match was lengthy. I’m actually pleased with my efficiency at this time.” Explaining how Djokovic had managed to steal the second set off him, he added: “It was a protracted, robust match [against a] robust opponent. “You need to put [in] like 200 per cent to beat this man, it’s like taking part in towards a wall. And he additionally made some good pictures. He doesn’t offer you any free factors. He all the time makes you play and you must be all the time there as a result of when you miss a few pictures, he simply takes it in a short time. That’s how I misplaced the second set.” And Djokovic can be hoping to do the identical over two units on Tuesday to advance to the third spherical in Rome.

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