Djokovic Defeats Musetti In Dubai In First Match Of 2022

Serbian faces De Minaur or Khachanov in second round

Novak Djokovic defeated #NextGenATP wild card Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 on Monday evening at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in his first match of the season.

The match proved more straightforward than his previous meeting with Musetti, which came in the fourth round at Roland Garros last year. In that encounter, a dramatic match in Paris, the Italian was forced to retire in the fifth set after holding a two-sets-to-love lead. 

“All in all, it’s a straight-sets win, so of course I have to be satisfied with my tennis, especially after not playing for two-and-a-half, three months,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “Of course, there were moments when I played great, there were moments when I made a couple of unforced errors in a row uncharacteristically. But it’s normal to expect that [in my] first match after a while.

“I’m glad that I managed to finish out the job tonight in straight sets against a very talented player from Italy who possesses a lot of quality. Of course, he didn’t have much to lose and in windy conditions [it was] a bit tricky to play. But all in all, a very, very pleasant experience for me tonight."

It was not a flawless performance from Djokovic, but he brought his best in the crucial moments, saving all seven break points he faced to extend his match record in Dubai to 42-6.

The first set hinged on the fourth and fifth games, Djokovic converting his second break point for 3-1 and then recovering from 0/40 to reinforce the break as his speed around court kept Musetti at bay.

The second set was not without its difficult moments for the top seed either, Musetti’s return game presenting a real threat as Djokovic fended off four break points to hold for 4-2.

“I was fortunate to find the right serves on those break points I faced in the sixth game of the second set," Djokovic said. "That gave me huge relief obviously for the rest of the match."


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It was nonetheless an accomplished first outing of 2022 for the 37-time ATP Masters 1000 winner, who struck 13 winners including five aces to seal victory in 74 minutes. 

Djokovic needs to perform strongly this week to give himself the best possible chance of retaining his No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings, which is under threat from Daniil Medvedev (View World No. 1 Scenarios Here). Djokovic's second-round opponent will be Russian Karen Khachanov or Australian Alex de Minaur.

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