Djokovic Now 14-0 After Reaching Dubai QFs; Rublev Saves MPs

by Staff | March 1st, 2023, 5:52 pm
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Novak Djokovic stayed perfect in 2023 improving to 14-0 after easing past 26-year-old Tallon Griekspoor in two sets 6-2, 6-3. Djokovic dropped just two points on first serve, had four love holds, though was just 4 of 16 on break chances and broken once in the match.

The 5-time Dubai champ Djokovic broke early going up 2-0 in both sets. He won seven of the last nine points to win his 19th straight match.

“It’s been a great evening for me tonight,” said Djokovic told the crowd. “Yesterday I really had to work hard to get a win. Tonight, right from the blocks, I think I was sharp. I played definitely better-quality tennis than I did last night.

“Maybe the last three or four games weren’t the best to close the match, but I managed to find a good serve in the end. I’m very pleased with the performance and with the way I felt on the court, and hopefully things can go in the right direction for tomorrow.”

The 39th-ranked Griekspoor finished with 12 aces and falls to 0-7 against Top top players.

Second-seeded Andrey Rublev saved five match points to keep his title defense alive defeating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 1-6, 7-6(8-6), 7-6(7-3). There were no break points in the last two sets, but the Spaniard held match points up 6-1 in the second set breaker.

Rublev then had 6-1 in the third set breaker but closed it out.

“It happened already this season and I’m super happy that I’m able to win these matches,” said Rublev to the ATP of saving match points in match. “The beginning [wasn’t good. I got frustrated. He started really well, he was hitting really hard, and I didn’t have many options, but then, little by little, I started to play and started to fight.

“I started to be positive, and I made this crazy tie-break comeback from 1-6 that I’ve never done in my life before… I’m really, really happy.”

Rublev has never lost to Davidovich Fokina, leading 2-0 in tour-level head-to-head battles.

Third-seeded Daniil Medvedev topped the entertaining Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-2. Medvedev, who never faced a break point, improves to 5-0 against Bublik. He’s now won his last 11 matches.

Italian Lorenzo Sonego shocked pulled off the upset of the day shocking No. 4 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(7-4), 6-4. Fifth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz defeated Russia’s Pavel Kotov 7-5, 6-1. And No. 8 seed Borna Coric defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis in three sets 6-7(4-7), 6-3, 7-5. No. 7 Alexander Zverev also eliminated Christopher O’Connell 7-5, 6-4.

“It was really tough today, but I played really well,” said Sonego. “I was really aggressive with my serve… I improved my game this year and I [have] some good experience on Tour. I’m really happy to beat Felix.”

On Thursday, quarterfinals matches see Djokovic – Hurkacz, Rublev – Botic Van De Zandschulp, Zverev – Lorenzo Sonego, along with Medvedev – Coric.

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