Novak Djokovic Upset by Andrey Rublev in 2022 Serbia Open Final

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 24, 2022

Andrey Rublev of Russia poses with trophy after winning the final tennis match of the Serbia Open tennis tournament against Novak Djokovic of Serbia, in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, April 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Novak Djokovic's first title of the 2022 season will have to wait.

Andrey Rublev captured the Serbia Open with a 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-0 win over the world No. 1 on Sunday, prolonging Djokovic's drought until at least the fifth month of the calendar year.

Djokovic has spent much of 2022 unable to compete in tournaments over his refusal to undergo COVID-19 vaccination. While restrictions in some countries have now been loosened enough for Djokovic to compete, he's clearly shown some signs of rust since his return. He was upset in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Masters in the second round by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina earlier this month and failed to hold court in his home country against Rublev.

The victory is Rublev's 11th career victory on the ATP tour and his third of the 2022 calendar year. He previously won the Dubai Tennis Championships and Open 13 in February.

The Russian, who was recently among the players banned from Wimbledon over his home country's invasion of Ukraine, did not allow the distraction to impact him as he ramps up his clay-court activity. He converted on 71 percent of his first-serve points and took advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy performance from Djokovic.

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"It's a big honour to play against you, to share the court for a second time.<br><br>"We will have many more battles, I wish."<br><br>๐Ÿ˜Š <a href="https://twitter.com/AndreyRublev97?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AndreyRublev97</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/DjokerNole?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DjokerNole</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SerbiaOpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SerbiaOpen</a> <a href="https://t.co/UGKGWFLgB8">pic.twitter.com/UGKGWFLgB8</a>

The Serb double-faulted five times and struggled with serve placement throughout the match, allowing Rublev to have 12 break-point chances. Rublev converted half of those tries, compared to just one break for Djokovic, who was clearly not in his finest of form.

โ€œIt is big to play against you and share the court for the second time,โ€ Rublev said to Djokovic during the trophy ceremony. โ€œI hope we have more battles. I feel so great here, it is a very nice city. It feels really special. I want to say a big thanks to all the spectators for supporting all the players all week. To see full crowds again is special for all of us.โ€