Thanks to the third three-set win in a row, world number one Novak Djokovic can secure his first tennis title of the year in his Serbian homeland.

In the semifinals in Belgrade on Saturday, the top seed defeated the Russian Olympic finalist Karen Khachanov 4:6, 6:1, 6:2 and reached the final for the first time this season.

In the final on Sunday, the 34-year-old Serb will face Andrei Rublev.

The second seeded Russian professional gave the Italian Fabio Fognini little chance at 6: 2, 6: 2.

Djokovic had already had trouble in the two previous rounds of the clay court tournament and needed three sets to advance against his two compatriots Laslo Djere and Miomir Kecmanovic.

He lost the first set in all three matches.

Because he is not vaccinated against the corona virus, Djokovic could not take part in some tournaments this season.

Before the Australian Open, he lost a court case and had to leave Australia before the tournament started.

In Dubai at the end of February, the 20-time Grand Slam tournament winner was surprisingly eliminated in the quarterfinals.

In Monte Carlo, after a forced break of weeks, he was unexpectedly over in his opening match.

With the final in Stuttgart, the former French Open winner Iga Swiatek continued her impressive winning streak on the tennis tour.

The number one in the world celebrated their 22nd win in a row in the semifinals on Saturday with a 6:7 (4:7), 6:4, 7:5 against the Russian outsider Lyudmila Samsonova.

In front of around 4,000 spectators, the 20-year-old lost the first set since winning the round of 16 in Indian Wells in March against Angelique Kerber and prevailed in an exciting and ultimately high-class encounter in just over three hours.

In the final on Sunday (1 p.m. on Eurosport), 20-year-old Swiatek can win her fourth title of the year against last year's Belarusian finalist Aryna Sabalenka.

Fourth in the world rankings, Aryna Sabalenka, previously won in the first semi-final against top Spanish player Paula Badosa 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

Last year, the Belarusian missed out on winning the title at the most important German women's tennis tournament in the final against the Australian Ashleigh Barty.

The hopes for the first German semi-finalist since 2017 had not been fulfilled.

Laura Siegemund, who won the tournament five years ago, was eliminated in the quarter-finals as the last remaining German participant against Samsonowa.

For Angelique Kerber, losing the first round of the EUR 611,210 tournament meant another setback this season.