Novak Djokovic will kick off the 2022 season against Lorenzo Musetti in the Dubai Open first round. After his unpleasant Australian saga, Novak is ready to fight for the trophies again at the event where he claimed five titles in the past.
Novak and Lorenzo will play their second match on the Tour, with their only meeting coming at the last year's Roland Garros. The young Italian played on a high level in the opening two sets to claim them in the tie break and build a massive advantage before Djokovic shifted into a higher gear.
Novak earned a 6-7, 6-7, 6-1, 6-0, 4-0 victory in three hours and 27 minutes, avoiding a massive scare and advancing into the 15th Roland Garros quarter-final. Making his Roland Garros debut, Lorenzo won three matches and moved closer to stun an 18-time Major winner before Novak reached his A-game and crumbled the opponent when the Italian retired in the decider.
Novak Djokovic came from two sets to love down against Lorenzo Musetti.
The opening two sets lasted for two hours and 20 minutes, and Musetti was the more composed player, taking them both despite the fact there was nothing to separate them.
Still, a teenager could not follow that pace in the rest of the clash, struggling physically and standing powerless against the rival who raised his level to dominate and avoid a shocking defeat. We saw pretty much everything that tennis has to offer in sets one and two, with great defense, attacks and beautiful strokes from every part of the court.
Defending his backhand with crafty slices and enduring the exchanges, Lorenzo stayed in touch with Novak and overpowered him when it mattered the most to build a huge advantage. They traded breaks in the opening set's games four and five to stay neck and neck, with both players serving well in the remaining games to set a tie break.
Lorenzo climbed back from 4-1 down and converted the third set point at 8-7 to gain a massive advantage after over an hour. The second set followed the same pattern, with Musetti holding a break for a moment before Djokovic pulled it back to set another tie break.
The young Italian held his nerves and delivered the proper strokes to take it 7-2 after firing from all cylinders. With no room for errors, Novak raised his game drastically in the third set, dominating the court and losing only six points to take it 6-1 in under half an hour and gain momentum and confidence.
With nothing left in the tank, Lorenzo grabbed only four points in the fourth set to experience a bagel and move away from the finish line that looked within his reach after the second set. Dropping 14 points after the second set, Novak raced into a 4-0 lead in the fifth set before Lorenzo retired to propel the Serb into the last eight.