Djokovic Stunned By Vesely In Dubai, Will Lose No. 1 Ranking
For the first time in over 18 years, a non-Big 4 will sit atop the ATP rankings come this Monday. Daniil Medvedev will assume the role after Novak Djokovic suffered a shock loss today in Dubai, falling to Jiri Vesely 6-4, 7-6(4) in just under two hours.
Vesely has just one win in his last 10 tour-level matches coming into Dubai, but the Czech lefty got some momentum through qualifying, then upset Marin Cilic and Roberto Bautista Agut before his massive upset today.
“It is an amazing feeling,” Vesely told the crowd. “I never really thought I would have a chance against Novak. He is one of the greatest of all time. After the past 12 months, it is unbelievable. I have so many emotions inside. It is hard to describe. It is an amazing feeling.”
Djokovic was down a set and a break before levelling as Vesely failed to serve it out.
“Well, I felt pretty nervous in the beginning of the match. It’s always important to start good because once they start with a break or something, they loosen up a little bit, get more relaxed, then it’s very hard to stop these guys,” Vesely said. “Of course I was also nervous at 5-4 in the second set, 4-3 already when I knew it’s not far away. I did maybe some little easy mistakes. But Novak played a great game to 5-All anyway.
“The match overall was very, very physical. At the end I was really pretty tired. But maybe this helped me to not think too much about the potential win, if I would make that service game at 5-4. Also in the tiebreak I was always leading. Yeah, I was just so tired that I wasn’t really thinking too much about it.”
Djokovic was appearing in his first event of 2022.
“I was keeping my fighting spirit there. I really tried till the last shot. I managed to break his serve when he was serving for the match. Just kept it going, really pushed him to the last shot,” Djokovic said.
“The crowd were cheering me on but unfortunately it wasn’t my day. He played better. He just went for his shots. His serve was big. His whole game was big. When he needed to come up with the big shots, he did. I expected myself to play at a higher level, but credit to Jiri.”
In another big match, Hubert Hurkacz overwhelmed Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3. Andrey Rublev topped Mackenzie McDonald in three sets, and Denis Shapovalov ousted qualifier Ricardis Berankis.
Hurkacz will meet Rublev in the semifinals and Shapovalov will take on Vesely.
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