Djokovic extends streak to 27 with Serbia Open title
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Novak Djokovic won the Serbia Open without dropping a set after beating Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 7-6 6-2 in Sunday's final to stretch his unbeaten record in 2011 to 27 matches. It was the 23-year-old Serb's fifth title this year, after he captured the Australian Open, the Dubai Championships as well as Masters series events in Indian Wells and Miami.
After enjoying an easy passage to the final, including a first-round bye and a semi-final walkover against injured compatriot Janko Tipsarevic, Djokovic showed resilience when he faced adversity in the opening set against Lopez.
The home crowd favourite looked uncomfortable in light drizzle and high humidity but showed nerves of steel, saving all seven break points throughout the strength-sapping contest.
With the score 5-5 in the first set, Djokovic saved a break point with a backhand return from an almost impossible angle and then romped to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak before he wrapped up the set in 73 minutes.
Having served his way out of the trouble to lead 2-1 in the second set, Djokovic broke serve for the first time in the fourth game and saved another break point in the sixth, before Lopez handed him a 5-2 lead with two wild unforced errors.
Djokovic then drew a standing ovation from the 5,000 home crowd with a pair of superb sliced dropshots and sealed his second Serbia Open title with an ace and a service winner.
"Last night I dreamed of being the hero of the year by beating you here but once again, you showed that you are a truly great player," Lopez said to Djokovic in a courtside speech.
Djokovic, who won the inaugural event in 2009 and had to retire with illness in the early stages last year, was delighted to have won the tournament organised by his family.