Novak Djokovic 'aiming for French Open title' after victory in Belgrade

World No 1 defeats No 255 Molcan on home turf in Serbia but is far from convincing with Roland Garros looming

Novak Djokovic defeated Slovakian qualifier Alex Molcan 6-4, 6-3, in the final of the Belgrade Open on Saturday and insisted he was aiming for more of the same at the upcoming French Open.

With the Grand Slam in Paris on the horizon, Djokovic was given a standing ovation by fans at his own tennis centre by the Danube river in the Serbian capital but it was a far from convincing performance from the world No 1.

World No 255 Molcan broke Djokovic's serve three times from three break points in the first set, but struggled to hold his own.

The Serbian landed only 44 per cent of his first serves in the opening set, rising to 66 per cent in the second and sealed victory in less than 90 minutes.

It was Djokovic's first title since clinching his 18th major at the Australian Open in February. Since then, the 34-year-old's form has been patchy on the clay courts, losing in the last 16 in Monte Carlo, Serbian Open semi-finals and the Italian Open final against Rafael Nadal.

The Spaniard is overwhelming favourite to add to his remarkable 14 title triumphs on his favourite red clay at Roland Garros.

"I want to thank everyone who turned up and made this a memorable day, I have to admit that part of my mind is already in Paris," Djokovic said in a courtside interview.

"It was an easy decision to enter this tournament, I never had any seconds thoughts and I am delighted that we came through so magnificently with this event. I am aiming for the title at Roland Garros."

The French Open starts on Sunday and Djokovic is in the same half of the draw as old rivals Nadal and Roger Federer. He sits two behind the pair's joint record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

Published: May 29, 2021 07:25 PM

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