• Djokovic set for Serbia Open title defense

    5/3/10 1:44 AM | Kelli DeMario
    Djokovic set for Serbia Open title defense Novak Djokovic will attempt to defend his title at home, as he tops the field of players on clay in Belgrade. The defending champion enters the event as the number one seed, leading a group of 28 competitors.

    World No. 2 Novak Djokovic returns to clay-court action, following his final eight finish in Rome last week. The 22-year-old reached his fifth ATP World Tour quarterfinal berth of the season, before bowing out to Barcelona champion Fernando Verdasco in three sets. Djokovic will be looking to pocket his second Serbia Open crown, having captured the 2009 title over surprise finalist Lukasz Kubot.

    Djokovic commences the event with a 20-5 record in 2010, aided by a successful title defense in Dubai in late February. In addition to his profitable run in Dubai, the Serb has advanced the quarterfinal or better in Melbourne, Rotterdam, Monte-Carlo and Rome. Djokovic attempts to collect career title No. 18 this week.

    The defending champion leads a field of seeded players including: John Isner, Sam Querrey, Stanislas Wawrinka, Ivo Karlovic and fellow Serbs Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic. Former semifinalist Andreas Seppi rounds out the group as the 8th seed. Additional combatants are Igor Andreev, Richard Gasquet, Evgeny Korolev, Leonardo Mayer, Michael Russell and Horacio Zeballos.

    After a first round bye, Djokovic will square off against either World No. 74 Fabio Fognini of Italy or 462nd-ranked Croatian qualifier Franco Skugor. The closest seed in Djokovic’s section of the draw is seventh-seeded countryman Tipsarevic, who has a tricky opening-round match with Houston semifinalist Horacio Zeballos.

    Should he pass through to the later rounds, Djokovic remains on course to contest a possible quarterfinal-round clash with third-seeded Houston runner-up Sam Querrey. The American suffered a first-round loss to Troicki last year, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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