BELGRADE, Serbia (AFP) – Andrey Rublev defeated Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-6 (4), 6-0 to win his third title of the season at the Serbia Open on Sunday.

Second-seeded Russian Djokovic went deep into preventing a comeback as he prevented top-seeded Serbian from claiming his first title in 2022.

Djokovic has already returned from a group stage in each of his three matches at the tournament in his hometown, losing to Laszlo DiGiri, Miomi Kikmanovich and Karen Khachanov on the way to the final which was only his fifth, sixth and seventh match of the year.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion started his claycourt season with a shock defeat to Alejandro Davidvich Fokina at the Monte Carlo Masters last week, his first match since being knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championship in February.

Dubai was his first tournament this year after being banned from the Australian Open due to his poor condition, which prevented him from playing in the United States last month.

After winning in Marseille and Dubai in February, Rublev now equals Rafael Nadal’s mark with three tour titles in 2022.