Novak Djokovic after edging out 130th-ranked qualifier: Gave me all kinds of trouble

Djokovic was made to work harder than expected in his Dubai opener.

by Dzevad Mesic
Novak Djokovic after edging out 130th-ranked qualifier: Gave me all kinds of trouble

Novak Djokovic was full of praise for Tomas Machac following their Dubai match as he acknowledged that the Czech qualifier gave him "all kinds of trouble." On Tuesday, Djokovic played his first match since winning the Australian Open as he edged out Machac 6-3 3-6 7-6 (1) to reach the Dubai round-of-16.

Djokovic, 35, and 22-year-old Machac were playing against each other for the first time. "Tomas certainly didn't play like the No. 130 in the world today. He was giving me all kinds of trouble. But I guess when it mattered, I found another gear," Djokovic said after the match, per the ATP website.

Also, Djokovic noted that he didn't play much tennis going into Dubai. “Physically you can always be better. I demand the highest of standards, levels, and quality of tennis and preparation that I can possibly get. I did struggle with injury for several weeks and it took me a little bit of time to get used to holding the racquet.

I haven’t played much tennis coming into Dubai, so I’m hoping that as the tournament progresses, I can raise the level of tennis as well," Djokovic explained.

How Djokovic defeated Machac?

Djokovic broke Machac in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead but the Czech broke back the Serb in the fifth game to get the break back.

However, blowing an early first-set break didn't impact Djokovic, who broke Machac again in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. In the rest of the first set, Djokovic held on to his serve to win the opener. After losing the first set, Machac broke Djokovic in the second game of the second set and then he held on to his serve for the rest of the set to force a decider.

In the third set, Djokovic saved a break point in the first game before breaking Machac in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead. Down by a break, Machac didn't quit as he broke back Djokovic in the seventh game and managed to force a tie-break.

In the tie-break, Djokovic was absolutely dominant as the Serb escaped with a three-set win to set up a round-of-16 meeting against Tallon Griekspoor.

Novak Djokovic