ATP Dubai: Novak Djokovic eases past Malek Jaziri to kick off title chase


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ATP Dubai: Novak Djokovic eases past Malek Jaziri to kick off title chase

World no. 1 and the four-time Dubai champion Novak Djokovic is through to the second round of the ATP 500 event, beating Malek Jaziri 6-1, 6-2 in an hour. It was the 17th straight victory for the Serb who had the strings of the match fully in his hands, dropping ten points on serve and never facing a break chance while taking more than a half of the return points that secured four breaks for him.

Djokovic needed 28 muinutes to claim the opening set, dropping five points in his games and delivering two breaks from five chances to control the pace all the time. The Serb sprayed a forehand error in the first game to keep the Tunisian in contention, holding after a deuce to get his name on the scoreboard.

Malek got broken in game two on the third break chance offered to Novak, calling for a wrong challenge to find himself 2-0 down. Djokovic cemented the advantage with a hold at 15 in game three, delivering another break when Jaziri netted a backhand slice to increase the advantage.

Four service winners pushed a former champion 5-0 in front, securing the opener with another package of four unreturned serves at 5-1. Malek held after a deuce at the beginning of the second set, with Djokovic leveling the score at 1-1 after a routine forehand at the net, having a complete upper hand behind the initial shot and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.

Battling for every game, Malek held in game three following a forehand error from the Serb who held at 15 to level the score at 2-2 thanks to a slice mistake from the Tunisian. Novak grabbed a break at 15 in the next game when Jaziri hit a double fault and opened a 4-2 lead with another comfortable hold, serving well and keeping the points on his racquet with the first groundstroke.

Djokovic secured another break in game seven after an incredible point forged with a drop shot and a volley winner, taking another big step towards the finish line and serving for the triumph in the next game. The Serb closed the encounter like he played in the bigger part of it, firing four winners in game eight to move over the top and set the second-round clash with Philipp Kohlschreiber.