Djokovic Extends Winning Streak, Now Plays Khachanov In Dubai Quarter-finals

Monfils, Gasquet also advance

Novak Djokovic hit 15 matches unbeaten in 2020 on Wednesday by reaching the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarter-finals.

The World No. 1, who is aiming to capture his fifth title at The Aviation Club in Dubai, was never troubled in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber in just 59 minutes.

“It was a great performance,” said Djokovic. “I enjoyed the way I played, coming out with the right focus and tactics. Knowing Philipp beat me 12 months ago in Indian Wells, I needed to approach this match very seriously regardless of his ranking [No. 80]. He is one of the most experienced players on the tour and likes to play on the big stage, so he doesn’t falter too much.”

Djokovic, who is now 38-6 lifetime at the ATP 500-level hard-court tournament, hit 12 of his 23 total winners off his forehand wing and committed just 10 unforced errors. He won all 10 of his points at the net.

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Djokovic gave 36-year-old Kohlschreiber the run around in the sixth game of the first set, breaking for a 4-2 advantage with a forehand winner. Djokovic clinched the 31-minute opener when Kohlschreiber flicked a backhand crosscourt wide.

From 5-3 in the first set, Djokovic won five straight games — including breaks of serve in the first (with a forehand winner) and third (backhand winner) games of the second set. He completed the victory with a forehand return winner.

The 32-year-old Djokovic will next play seventh-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov, who defeated Austrian qualifier Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-4 in 74 minutes. Djokovic leads Khachanov 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.

“I’ve had some interesting battles with him,” said Djokovic, looking ahead to the Khachanov match. “He is a great guy, a very powerful player. He is one of the guys who is a contender to be Top 5, Top 10. He is very dedicated, so hopefully I’ll be as sharp as I have been in the past two matches and start well.”

Djokovic’s best start to a season was in 2011 when he went 41-0 before losing to Roger Federer in the Roland Garros semi-finals.

In the final match of the day, third seed Gael Monfils extended his winning streak to a career-best 11 matches after beating qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-1, 6-2 in 66 minutes. Monfils, who has won his past two tournaments at the Open Sud de France (d. Pospisil) and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (d. Auger-Aliassime), will next face fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who improved to 8-2 lifetime against Benoit Paire after beating his eighth-seeded compatriot 6-4, 6-4 in 81 minutes.

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