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Novak Djokovic rallies from set down to beat teenager in Bosnia

ATP 250 Srpska Open 2023

BANJA LUKA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA - APRIL 19: Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Luca Van Assche of France after winning the ATP 250 Srpska Open 2023 at National Tennis Center on April 19, 2023 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

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BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Top-ranked Novak Djokovic had to rally from a set down to beat 18-year-old Luca Van Assche 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-2 at the Srpska Open.

Djokovic, coming off an early exit at Monte Carlo, was also down an early break in the decider before advancing to the quarterfinals at the clay-court tournament.

The 35-year-old Serb recovered from a slow start to drop just two points on his serve in the second set.

Djokovic, playing just his third match on clay this season, needed two hours, 38 minutes to put away the young Frenchman.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion said the match “would probably rank as the slowest court, slowest conditions I’ve ever played in, to be honest. I couldn’t put any ball past him.”

Van Assche, who won the boys’ title at Roland Garros in 2021, is the youngest player in the Top 100. He’s ranked No. 87.

Djokovic will next face either Dusan Lajovic or Gregoire Barrere in the last eight.