Novak Djokovic survived back-to-back three-setters at the Serbia Open this week. After scraping past Laslo Djere in the second round, he ousted Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
The 20-time Major champion was a bit fortunate against Djere, with the latter squandering some break points and missing routine putaways to allow the Serb back into the match.
While speaking on Tennis Channel, former top-10 player Chanda Rubin admitted the Serb was fortunate in his win over Djere. But she feels that Djokovic himself knows that sometimes matches such as these help one regain his mojo.
“I think it is, I think getting through the match yesterday where he really had to battle – got a little bit lucky, took advantage of his opponent may be getting a little nervous, but that’s tennis,” Chanda Rubin said. “And Novak Djokovic understands that sometimes it’s just one match, it may be a moment in a match that really sparks your tennis and helps you through the rest of the year.”
She also believes Kecmanovic provided a stiff test for the World No. 1, who she thinks will benefit from the rigors of the match.
“And I think for Djokovic, getting onto this red clay, it’s a surface where he has, you know, such an advanced skill set, the fact that he’s getting through these tough matches, gaining the confidence and Kecmanovic, he’s been playing well, he’s an in-form guy,” she said. “So it was a good test for the level of Novak Djokovic.”
“I think we’re starting to see Novak Djokovic come back slowly but surely” – Christopher Eubanks
World No. 153 Christopher Eubanks was also part of the panel on Tennis Channel alongside Chanda Rubin. He believes Djokovic is making steady progress with regard to regaining his form and fitness.
“Coming off his stint in Monte Carlo where he seemed to kind of give out physically in the third set, that has not been a problem so far here – three hours and 20 minutes yesterday, another long three-setter on Saturday against a very in-form player,” Eubanks said. “I think we’re starting to see Novak come back slowly but surely, I think the fitness level isn’t an issue at this point. I don’t see any reason as to why it would be. He’s back.”
The American reckons the next step for the Serb is to fine-tune some aspects of his game.
“I think he’s slowly going to work his game,” he said. “His game is going to be the next part that he’s going to start finding his level and we’ll see what happens the rest of this event.”