Djokovic Advances In Dubai, Federer Returns Wednesday; Murray Wins, Isner Falls In Mexico

by Staff | February 26th, 2014, 1:20 am

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic opened his title defense in Dubai with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-3 win over Denis Istomin in first round action on Tuesday.

Playing in just his second event of the season, the Serb never lost serve in the win.

“It wasn’t as easy as the scoreline indicates,” said Djokovic. “I needed to work for my games. My serve worked really well in the second set, and that helped me to get some free points. But having not played for more than four, five weeks, an official match, obviously it takes its toll on the court. I practiced a lot. I put in a lot of hours on the court, trying to develop my game, trying to get myself in the right shape, and it’s going to click sooner or later.”

Tomorrow during a star-studded Dubai night session, Djokovic will play Roberto Bautista Agut, that after 5-time champion Roger Federer returns to face fellow veteran Radek Stepanek.

“He won against Del Potro in the Australian Open, if I’m not mistaken, in a thrilling five sets,” Djokovic said. “He has improved his game significantly since last year, and winning against Del Potro in a Grand Slam says enough about his quality. I’m going to get out on the court and try to win that match, of course, not underestimating my opponent.”

Speaking of Agut, Juan Martin del Potro who lost to the Spaniard at the Australian was forced out of the tournament after dropping the opening tiebreaker to Somdev Devvarman. Del Potro again cited continued pain in his troubles left wrist. He’s expected to return to Argentina where he’ll undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.

“It’s hurting all the time, and it’s sometimes less and sometimes little more,” del Potro said. “But it’s hurting, and I have been in contact with my doctor all the time. He’s trying to keep me motivated to keep playing, but I know what it’s my limit playing on court. Today was enough. Now I will see what he says for the future, and I will let you know very soon what’s my plans gonna be.”

Other winners were Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nikolay Davydenko.

In Acapulco on the hardcourts, in the battle of the two tallest players on the tour, Ivo Karlovic got the better of John Isner in (surprise!) two tiebreaks.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Isner who drops to 2-3 against the Croat. “I wanted to do well in here, is a good surface for me, but I played against a guy who played well against me”.

In a late match, second seed Andy Murray overcame a set deficit to turn away Rio clay finalist Pablo Andujar 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

Top seed David Ferrer also won as did Grigor Dimitrov, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and Marseille champion Ernests Gulbis. Lopez and Ferrer will meet on Wednesday as will big men Kevin Anderson and Sam Querrey.

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29 Comments for Djokovic Advances In Dubai, Federer Returns Wednesday; Murray Wins, Isner Falls In Mexico

Colin Says:

At last Andy is making some real progress. A couple of weeks ago he would have lost this match. The Spaniard was fully in charge for much of the first set, but Andy remained calm and upped his game when he needed to. To be fair Andujar looked tired (apparently the trip from Rio is no fun, as you can’t fly direct to Acapulco).

I was somewhat startled by the physical appearance of some of the ball persons, who looked as if they’d been packing in the carbohydrates. Line judges are often overweight, but they don’t have to run around.

By the way, have you noticed the huge discrepancy in prize money between the men and women in Acapulco? No drive for equality from these macho Mexicans!

van orten Says:

fed at his self destructing best again.. but there is still hope. cuz he is clearly the better player. but that forehand of his ..very bad returning so far

van orten Says:

except for his backhand return ..what a point!!!

Giles Says:

Steppy should have beaten him. Too many wasted chances.

skeezer Says:

Fed is clearly not playing championship Tennis atm, but he earned this win.

steve-o Says:

Good show of grit from Federer to get the win. Had to hustle and grind, but he’s through to the next round.

Perfect fan Says:

good hard fought win by fed….I’m infact liking the way fed is coming from behind to win matches….he was a break down in the deciding set and still fought it out….I m seeing positives here. But nevertheless, stepanek played glorious tennis….his defence was at times breathtaking, IMO.

Jolly Roger Says:

Losing a set to Sexpanek is never a comforting thing.

steve-o Says:

The fast courts seemed to make Federer hesitate a bit, especially since Stepanek attacked quite a bit himself. He was not quite sure about when to come forward and when to stay back. Actually when he sought to extend the rallies by hitting deeper, well-placed balls he had a bit more success. Sometimes Stepanek just took big cuts at the ball and his shots went in, so it was hard for Federer to predict what would happen.

I think it is good for him to be pressed like this, hopefully in the next match he will have a clearer idea about how to handle the court speed and his net-rushing tactics will work better.

Hippy Chic Says:

It was a thrilling match,and i was glad Roger managed to tough it out,epecially given he was a break down in that 3rd set,although things will only get harder for him here on in,wishing him the best of luck for the matches ahead anyway whatever happens.

Slice Tennis Says:

steve-o Says:
“The fast courts seemed to make Federer hesitate a bit”


Giles Says:

Wasn’t the ole man advocating for faster courts a couple of years ago?

Vinod Says:

@giles ya yes…. but the old man makes u run for ur money #respect

Skeezer Says:

Rafa wasn’t going to
play Dubai this year, The courts weren’t slow enough. Why play ehen there is muddy dirt to play on. LMAO.

Okiegal Says:

Rafa Nadal can play anywhere he wants to…..all venues are clamoring for his presence…He just prefers what’s easy on the kneesy!! I don’t blame him for that!

A Tango Lad Says:

Well I for one am relieved that Nadal is not in Dubai!!!

Slice Tennis Says:

The usually fast courts in dubai played very very slow only once.

Anyone knows when ?

Clue: The usual suspect slowed it down…

Skeezer Says:


Slice Tennis Says:

The lonely old lady strikes back !!!!
I am afraid now….ROTFL

Skeezer Says:

Not as old as u! ROFL!


Slice Tennis Says:

Calm down old lady
Come out of your dark room atleast once in a month and feel the fresh air and sun
There IS life outside of tennis-x and your darkroom
You will feel much better
Get well soon.

skeezer Says:

Old Dudette,
I am fine , but apparently you’re not. You only come here know and then and try to drop anti-Fed bombs, which results in only embarrassing yourself. Take a tip, stick to Rafa lovefest threads, where you can share the fantasy wet dreams with the vamosheads you so dearly align yourself with.


Giles Says:

And this dude who calls himself skeezer throws in yet more vulgar comments. Am really surprised Tennis X are not moderating his posts.
BTW Rafa hasn’t played in Dubai for several years now.

Steve27 Says:

No drive for equality from these macho Mexicans!

Mexico is, maybe, the most “patriarcal” country in the strict sense in Latin America
You have to watch their famous soaps opera to have an idea what its mean be a macho in a society like the Mexican.
They say because I am a man I dont cry!

Steve27 Says:

Rafa wasn’t going to
play Dubai this year, The courts weren’t slow enough. Why play ehen there is muddy dirt to play on

Dubai 2006 say Hello!
Here is the link for those having selective memory

Giles Says:

Nice one @ Steve 27.
These dudes need to be reminded over and over again of the Nadal supremacy over Faderer.

Margot Says:

@Steve 27
Hate that attitude. Tears don’t mean weakness, whoever’s doing the crying. Just means you care rather a lot.
Don’t like the frequent blubbing as seen on TV though, be it men or women.
“Real” men cry too!

Adam Says:

Good news for any Murray fans.
Been doing a little of research on internet.
After Acapulco – due to the unfortunate injury to Del Potro he will definite rise above him in the rankings to no.6
He has a decent chance to overtake Berdych for no.5. He just needs to reach the final in Mexico as Thomas is defending final points at Dubai, so the best he can do is win Dubai which will only increase his ranking by 200. Muzza is defending nothing so the 300 he would get for making the final would take him past Tomas.
And he has an outside chance of going back to no.4.
However this would be tough. He’d have to win Acapulco – +500. And Ferrer would need to fail to make the final as he’s defending final points at Acapulco.
I know in the big picture it doesn’t matter all that much but we need Muzza to be back in the top 4 by RG

Hippy Chic Says:

Adam thanks for the info on our Andy,and good news too,although not the way i wouldve wanted it,especially with Delpos wrist injury,lets hope it all goes according to plan.

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