Last Updated: 13/06/20 7:58pm
World No 1 Novak Djokovic won his opening Adria Tour match as the two-day charity event got underway in Serbia.
The tournament, organised by Djokovic while international tennis remains suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, attracted a capacity crowd of 4,000 to the Serb’s tennis complex by the Danube river.
Sets are limited to the best of seven games, with eight players competing in two pools on a round-robin basis.
Djokovic was a 4-1 4-1 winner over his compatriot Viktor Troicki in Group A, although at times the occasion resembled more of a training session than a competitive match.
The show was stolen by a young courtside helper who, having been given Troicki’s racket, returned twice from a Djokovic serve, before hitting a forehand winner at the net.
After the match, Djokovic said: “I really enjoyed myself out there.
“Viktor started well but he seemed to have lost his momentum after the opening few games and, in this format, the match can be over pretty quickly.
“Once again, I want to thank every player who turned up and all the fans who flocked in, their presence has made this weekend a memorable one.”
The afternoon session’s opening clash in Group B was the most entertaining, as Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov beat home favourite Dusan Lajovic 4-3 3-4 4-3, with all three sets decided by tiebreaks.
World No 7 Alexander Zverev looked out of sorts in the opening set against Filip Krajinovic but recovered to post a 0-4 4-3 4-3 victory.
Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem was leading 2-0 against Damir Dzumhur in the opening set, when the Bosnian retired with a thigh injury.
The group winners, to be decided after Sunday’s round-robin matches, will meet in the final.
The Adria Tour’s third leg of four, scheduled to take place in Montenegro, has been cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.
Djokovic’s younger brother Djordje, the event’s director, released a statement saying the Montenegro leg had been scrapped as Serbia is still among the countries whose citizens are banned from entering the Adriatic republic, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been trying to organise this particular leg for weeks but the challenges proved to be insurmountable,” said the statement.
“We are unable to travel to Montenegro.
“We hoped that would change but it still hasn’t and this leg of the journey is off.”
The second leg will be held in Croatia’s coastal resort of Zadar on June 20-21, while the final leg is scheduled for Banja Luka in Bosnia on July 3-4.
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Source : Sky Sports