2022 in Review: Novak Djokovic wins season's first match in Dubai
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 1702
A five-time Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winner and world no. 1 Novak Djokovic made a winning return to tennis at one of his favorite events. Competing for the first time since the last year's Davis Cup Finals, a 20-time Major winner took down Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 14 minutes to advance into the second round and kick off the season in a winning way.
Lorenzo claimed the opening two sets against Novak at the last year's Roland Garros before fading from the court. Thus, he missed a massive chance to stun the world's leading player and stood nowhere near that level on the fast court in Dubai.
Despite not playing for two and a half months, Djokovic looked good on the court. He dominated on serve and return and kept the points on his racquet to sail toward the finish line. Novak lost only 14 points in his games and defended all seven break points while seizing three out of four return chances that carried him over the top.
Novak Djokovic kicked off the season in February in Dubai.
The Serb had a massive advantage in the shortest range up to four strokes, building the advantage in that segment and prevailing in the crucial moments. Novak held from 30-0 down in the encounter's opening game, forcing Lorenzo's mistake to bring the game home.
Like the Serb, the Italian was 30-0 down on his serve in game two before taking four straight points for 1-1 following Novak's forehand error. Djokovic held at love for 2-1 and seized the second break chance in the next one when Musetti sprayed a forehand mistake to open a 3-1 gap.
A five-time winner faced three break points in game five. He erased them and claimed five consecutive points to keep the initial shot intact and move 4-1 ahead with a forehand drive-volley winner. The returners barely claimed a point in the remaining four games, and Djokovic wrapped up the opener with a hold at love in game nine for 6-3 in 36 minutes.
The Serb closed the second set's second game at 30 and broke the Italian at love a few minutes later thanks to a forehand down the line winner. Djokovic confirmed the break with a volley winner at the net in game four and served at 3-2 to remain in front.
The youngster created three break chances, and Novak worked hard to find the first serves when he needed them and get out of jail. Musetti held at love in the seventh game to remain within one break deficit before Djokovic produced a hold at love for 5-3.
Lorenzo served to prolong the duel in game nine and got broken at 30 after a forehand mistake to propel Novak into the second round.