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Novak Djokovic Could Face Returning Thiem In Native Belgrade

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Hometown hero Novak Djokovic will compete in Belgrade for the sixth time in his ATP Tour career next week at the Serbia Open. In the tournament’s second year in Belgrade following a move from Budapest, the World No. 1 seeks a fourth tour-level title in his native city.

He will face a fellow Serbian in his opening match — possibly Laslo Djere — and could face in-form countryman Miomir Kecmanovic in the third round. Djokovic defeated seventh seed Kecmanovic in the 2021 Belgrade quarter-finals before falling to Aslan Karatsev in three sets.

Dominic Thiem will expect to forestall that rematch as he gets set for his first ATP Tour activity since he harmed his right wrist last June. The 28-year-old Austrian opens against John Millman, and could confront Kecmanovic or Richard Gasquet in the second round before an expected standoff with Djokovic.

Third seed Karen Khachanov and Serbian eighth seed Filip Krajinovic round out the seeded men in the top half.

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Andrey Rublev and Karatsev lead the draw’s bottom half, where fifth seed Cristian Garin and #NextGenATP star Holger Rune will square off in one of the matchups of the first round. Garin and Rune are in second seed Rublev’s quarter.

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Sixth seed Fabio Fognini will begin with an all-Italian contest against Marco Cecchinato, and could face Karatsev in the third round.

The 28-player ATP 250 event will be held from 18-24 April at the Novak Tennis Center, named for the World No. 1