Djokovic Continues Title Charge In Dubai

Serbian has lifted the trophy in Dubai five times

Novak Djokovic maintained his strong record at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Wednesday, soaring into the quarter-finals for the 12th consecutive time.

The World No. 1 has lifted the trophy in Dubai five times and continued his 2022 title bid with a dominant display against Karen Khachanov, downing the Russian 6-3, 7-6(2) in one hour and 38 minutes at the ATP 500 event.

Djokovic made a winning return to the Tour on Monday when he defeated #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the first round. And the Serbian once again showed little signs of rustiness, winning 83 per cent (38/46) of his first-serve points against Khachanov to improve to 5-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.

“I was feeling excited and motivated,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “But also at the same time I was feeling stressed. Particularly at the moments when I was facing break points. I thought the atmosphere in the stadium was terrific.”

Competing in his first tournament of the season, the 34-year-old will next play Jiri Vesely after the Czech qualifier upset Doha Champion Roberto Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-4. With his victory, Djokovic has now advanced to at least the quarter-final stage in Dubai every year he has competed at the event since his debut in 2007.

“I missed it [playing competitively]. This is my life,” Djokovic said. “This is what I have known for the past 20 years. Tennis is my love. I enjoying bringing positive energy and memories for people who watch.”

In an entertaining match, Djokovic was in control in the first set, not facing a break point as he moved ahead. He then encountered an attacking bombardment from the Russian in the second set, with Khachanov hammering his groundstrokes to recover from 2-4 to eventually force a tie-break. However, Djokovic refocused and raised his level in the tie-break, sealing his winning with a thunderous return.

Djokovic will be keen to perform well this week in order to retain his No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, which is under threat from Daniil Medvedev (View World No. 1 Scenarios Here). The Russian is in action at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco.


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Earlier, Andrey Rublev recovered from a slow start to overcome Soonwoo Kwon 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 in one hour and 44 minutes.

The World No. 7 arrived in Dubai in form after capturing his first tour-level title since March 2021 in Marseille last week. In a strong serving performance against Kwon, Rublev fired 15 aces and won 93 per cent (38/41) of points behind his first delivery.

Rublev, who reached the semi-finals in Dubai last season, will next face Mackenzie McDonald in the last eight. The American downed Serbian Filip Krajinovic 6-4, 7-6(7).

Denis Shapovalov also advanced, moving past Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-3 in 85 minutes. The 22-year-old has enjoyed a strong start to the season, helping guide Canada to the ATP Cup title, before he reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

The World No. 14 will next face Ricardas Berankis after the 31-year-old defeated Australian Alexei Popyrin 6-4, 7-6(7).

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