July 29, 2015

Djokovic Extends Win Streak to 18 with Dubai Title


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(March 2, 2013) Top seed and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-3 to win his fourth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title in five years and his 36th career ATP World Tour title



Berdych gained the first break to lead 3-2 with a crosscourt winner, and although Djokovic broke back to level at 4-4 he then had to fight off three break points to hold for a 5-4 lead.


The set ended with Djokovic breaking again when Berdych double-faulted on break point.


The second set was equally close, with the only break coming at 4-3 when Berdych hit an overhead  smash wide. Even then, Djokovic has to survive a break point with an ace as he served out the match.


“My serving today was great, [I had a] very high percentage of first serves, over 200 [kilometres per hour], Djokovic said. I really felt that I could rely on my serve. And in tough moments, that part of my game actually helped me to prevail. To be honest, I haven’t played as aggressive and maybe as good as I have played in yesterday’s match [versus Juan Martin del Potro] or previous matches during this week. But that’s also because I had [my] toughest challenge.


“I felt when I came from break down that I started believing in myself a little bit more. He basically gave me that break on 4‑3 when he missed an easy volley, but still, I fight and I believed I can come back.


“That’s I think something that can eventually decide the winner in these kind of matches in this kind of level, just hanging in there and waiting for your chance and then going for it.”


Berdych said although he earned the first break he was very far from victory.


“I was able to play the rallies with him quite well, especially from the baseline, and try to hold him under the pressure. He also make a couple of mistakes. So, yeah, I mean, the beginning was really good.


“But it’s been very, very far, you know. I would say, couple of chances that I had a break, but playing with the best returning guy on tour, it’s just an advantage but not something really huge, you know. It was a quite good game, but it was not enough today.”


Both players support the tournament being upgraded from an ATP 500 series to the highest 1000 level.


“I was actually talking with Tomas on court about it,” Djokovic said. “I don’t know a single player who has played here and has a negative feeling about the tournament. On the contrary, everybody wishes that this tournament is played for a bit longer time, also, like we have Indian Wells and Miami, and I think that this tournament deserves.”


Berdych added, “That’s definitely the way that this place should try to be and try to do it. I mean, they don’t have to be afraid of actually anything because they have everything to accommodate, to make the hospitality on that level and for the players, people around, everybody.


“It would be very interesting to see. I have to tell you that it could be really easily competing for the best 1000 tournament in the world, as well. Yeah, they have a pretty good chance.”


In the doubles final, Mahesh Bhupathi and Michael Llodra beat Robert Lindstedt and Nenad Zimonjic 7-6(8-6), 7-6(8-6). It was the first time the pair had played together, and it was Bhupathi’s fifth win in Dubai with each title coming with a different partner.

“It’s like playing at home here,” said Bhupathi. “I’ve got so many friends and so much family. I used to live here for so many years. It’s great to come back. The Indian support is obviously tremendous. Playing on that court before the final, it’s an amazing atmosphere.”

All photos by  Nida Alibhai.

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Del Potro Reaches Semis in Dubai

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( February 28, 2013) DUBAI – Juan Martin Del Potro reached the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for a second straight year on Thursday when he defeated qualifier Daniel Brands 6-4, 6-2.


The pair had met just once before, in Vienna last October when Del Potro fired 30 aces and Brands 32 in a match that Del Potro won at the end of three tiebreak sets.


The first set went with serve with neither player earning a break point until, with Del Potro leading 5-4, Brands played a miserable game and dropped his serve at love to concede the set.


Brands then made a backhand error on break point to give Del Potro a 2-0 lead in the second set, and he surrendered his serve to love for a second time when down 5-2 to give Del Potro a comfortable 62-minute win.


Del Potro commented that he served better and did not face a break point but needs to play at 100% to win.


“Looks easy but wasn’t easy,” said Del Potro. “I played really well in the second set, and I take my chance to break his serve in the end of the first set. Today he made a few double faults in the important moments, and I took that to break his serves. I think that was the key.”


“Juan Martin Del Potro survived a difficult first round when he faced three match points  against Marcos Baghdatis, but he has since shown the form that won him the US Open title in 2009,” said tournament director Salah Tahlak. “It will be interesting to see if he can maintain his run and advance to his first final here at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.”

Del Potro will face Novak Djokovic in his semifinal.


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All photos by  Nida Alibhai. Follow Nida Alibhai’s coverage of  Dubai on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

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ATP Dubai – Sunday Results, Monday Schedule

Federer and Djokovic Dubai

CENTRE COURT start 2:00 pm
P Mathieu (FRA) vs [7] A Seppi (ITA)
B Kavcic (SLO) vs [8] M Youzhny (RUS)

Not Before 7:00 PM
[WC] M Jaziri (TUN) vs [2] R Federer (SUI)
[PR] S Devvarman (IND) vs [Q] I Kunitsyn (RUS)

COURT 1 start 3:00 pm
[Q] F Serra (FRA) vs [Q] D Brands (GER)

Not Before 4:30 PM
N Davydenko (RUS) / D Norman (BEL) vs [WC] N Djokovic (SRB) / M Djokovic (SRB) – Possible Court Change

COURT 3 start 2:00 pm
D Goffin (BEL) vs R Bautista Agut (ESP)
L Rosol (CZE) vs [Q] M Viola (ITA)
[1] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) vs M Baghdatis (CYP) / D Goffin (BEL)