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By Erik Gudris | Thursday, May 27, 2021

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic streaked through eight straight games shredding Federico Coria 6-1, 6-0 to surge into the Belgrade Open semifinals.

Photo credit: Internazionali BNL d'Italia Facebook

Novak Djokovic streaked through the road less traveled to reach a historic destination.

A dynamic Djokovic streaked through eight straight games shredding Federico Coria 6-1, 6-0 to surge into the Belgrade Open semifinals.

Courier: Djokovic Will Contend for Slams at 40

It is Djokovic's fourth semifinal of the season, including his third straight on clay, and propels him to a special place in ATP history. Djokovic posted his 952nd career victory surpassing legendary left-hander Guillermo Vilas for sole possession of fifth place on the ATP's all-time victory list.

Apart from surrendering serve at love in the fifth game, Djokovic called almost all the shots in a near flawless 55-minute performance he called one of his best matches of the season.

"It was a great performance," Djokovic said. "And probably one of the best matches, if not the best match, I played this year. I felt fantastic on the court from the first point."

Playing an ATP event a week before a Grand Slam is a rare route for Djokovic.

While rivals are preoccupied practicing at Roland Garros before today's draw was conducted, Djokovic played over the 29-year-old Argentinian's head from the first game with a couple of shrewd lobs and spent the rest of the match dispensing the entire shot spectrum improving to 18-3 in 2021.

Tennis Express

Coria shares the flair for the drop shot his older brother and tennis idol, 2004 French Open finalist Guillermo Coria, deployed devastating finesse. The Argentinian used the dropper to dodge trouble in his opening game, but Djokovic's down the line drives opened the court for a clever short-angled forehand as he broke for 2-0 after 14 minutes.

The top seed looked sharp surging to a 4-0 lead. Coria countered with his best game of the set stretching Djokovic with his first pass then pushing a forehand pass to break at love in the fifth game.

Djokovic shrugged off the speed bump and broke back.

Serving for the set, the 34-year-old Serbian channeled his tennis hero, Pete Sampras, with a slick serve-and-volley knifing his backhand volley to seal the 33-minute opener. Djokovic won 10 of 13 points played on Coria's second serve in the first set.

In free flow throughout the second set, Djokovic rolled through 12 of the final 15 points ending with a smile and a warm embrace for Coria, who took a selfie with the world No. 1 afterward.

Next up for Djokovic, after he checks out his draw for Paris, is either Serbian Davis Cup teammate Dusan Lajovic or 119th-ranked Slovakian Andrej Martin.


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