ATP Dubai – Novak Djokovic, eliminated by Jiri Vesely, will lose his place of world No.1 in favor of Daniil Medvedev


What a story ! Coming from the qualifications in Dubai and 123rd player in the world, Jiri Vesely will therefore remain the one who allowed Daniil Medvedev to access for the first time in his career the place of world number 1 next Monday. The tall Czech (1.98m), full of confidence after his victories over Marin Cilic and Roberto Bautista Agut, achieved the feat on Thursday of taking out Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals in Dubai, winning in two sets (6- 4, 7-6) and almost two hours of play (1h58). In addition to the loss of the throne, the Serb sees his resumption of the competition cut short, since he will not be able to travel to the United States in March to play the Masters 1000 of Indian Wells and Miami, because of his status of non vaccinated.

Before crossing swords with Novak Djokovic on Thursday, Jiri Vesely had a surprising particularity: he was one of the few to have a favorable record against the Serb. And for good reason, the Czech left-hander, who was at best 35th in the world in 2015, had won their only previous duel almost six years ago in Monte-Carlo. Anecdotal and insignificant, one was tempted to think, but he showed on the fast Emirati court that it was no fluke. At his best, Vesely has the weapons to cause problems for anyone on the circuit, and after two confrontations, he is still undefeated against the “Djoker”.

ATP Dubai

A good past test for Djokovic


Power and variations, Vesely’s explosive cocktail to create the feat

With his mover’s size and his left paw, Vesely was able to get Djokovic out of his entry comfort zone. Surprised by his rival’s ability to keep pace in the exchange, the Serb gave up his entry service. And if he quickly came back up (2-2), he was never comfortable facing the opposing power which forced him to often find himself on the defensive and far from the line. Two games later, the 123rd player in the world started again and not just anyhow: to his big shots from the baseline, he added some very well felt drop shots and showed a nice touch on the net to break again and take the lead (6-4).

Surprisingly easy with his left-handed curled cross forehand that he half-volleyed on multiple occasions, Vesely never let Djokovic breathe in the exchange. And if the servers ruled at the start of the second act until 3-3, the Czech never lost his common thread: aggression and variation. With one of his many long-line backhand missiles, he again made the difference to find himself in a position to serve for the match at 6-4, 5-4. It was then that he trembled slightly and that Djokovic, true to his reputation, slipped into the breach to revive, supported by the whole public.

Like so many others before him, Vesely had certainly just missed his chance… At least, that’s what the change in dynamics suggested. But the Czech is back in action. Neither the “Nole, Nole” of the crowd, nor the aura of his opponent distracted him from his goal. Dominated in power in the tie-break, Djokovic forced, made several errors including a double fault which gave the fatal mini-break. With yet another winning move forward, Vesely went for a victory as surprising as it was deserved. He was definitely not a 123rd in the world this Thursday. Djokovic, he is only number 1 for a few days.

ATP Dubai

The boss played again and won

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