After three easy matches, Novak Djokovic was up against the wall courtesy of Gael Monfils who was in control of the World No. 1 in the Dubai semifinals.
But up a set and leading 6-3 in the second set breaker, Djokovic showed his true champion colors saving three straight match points then cruising in the decider to win his 17th straight match.
“It’s like being on the edge of a cliff,” said Djokovic. “You know there is no way back so you have to jump over and try to find a way to survive I guess and pray for the best and believe that you can make it, that there is something that is going to help you.
“That’s one of the things that I feel at the moment. Okay, one point away, one shot away. There is no going back. This is it. I accept the situation and try to make the most out of it.”
The win also Djokovic’s 17th straight over Monfils and ended the Frenchman’s 12-match win streak.
Djokovic is now 17-0 this year having won his last 20 matches dating back to the Davis Cup last year.
In the final, he’ll seek a fifth Dubai crown against Stefanos Tsitsipas who returned to the final for a second straight year after 6-2, 6-3 win over Dan Evans.
”I just managed to stay solid throughout the whole match,” said Tsitsipas. “I didn’t have massive breakdowns and just played a quality of tennis which I enjoyed.
“I am really impressed by the quality of my game today and I really hope to bring the same and possibly even better in the next round.”
Tsitsipas takes an 8-match win streak against the Serb who he has split four meetings with. But Djokovic won two of the last three including the Paris Indoors last fall.
“He’s in really good form and shape. He’s been playing great tennis. Everybody has seen what he did at the Australian Open,” said Tsitsipas. “For sure, I’m going to have to bring the best out of my game and reduce my mistakes and in general reduce everything, stay aggressive like today I would say… It’s going to take something extra for me to beat him tomorrow. I’m going to try and seek that.”
Added Djokovic on the final, “He’s one of the leaders of the new generation. He’s now established Top 5, Top 10 player of the world. He is a hard worker, dedicated, very charismatic guy, nice guy. He has a lot of talent, a lot of passion for the sport, for the game,” he said. “I think he’s fantastic for our sport, not just the way he plays but his charisma, his character, the way he behaves. He’s a really nice guy to have for tennis. It’s anybody’s game really.”
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