ATP Dubai – Two sets but Novak Djokovic had to work against Karen Khachanov

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A first real test for Novak Djokovic. Very dominating in the first round, the Serb was greatly challenged by Kharen Khachanov in the second but got away with the tie break on Wednesday, in the second round of the Dubai tournament 6-3, 7-6 (2). A high-level meeting confirmed the good dispositions of the world number 1 seen against Lorenzo Musetti on Monday. For his third match of the year, he will face in the quarter-finals the Czech Jiri Vesely, surprise faller of Roberto Bautista at the same time.

6-3, 6-3 against Musetti on Monday. Then the same rate applied to Kharen Kachanov in the first round, this Wednesday. Novak Djokovic seemed, for a time, to be heading for a very quiet third round in Dubai. Because he put the ingredients there. Absolutely imperial behind his first ball (no points lost), the Serb displayed his usual solidity on the backhand side, while using serve and volley. 4-1 after 19 minutes, a first set completed in 31 minutes: it was very good Djokovic, not bad Khachanov.

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The Russian also confirmed later that he was having a good day. Although quickly broken, the 26th player in the world did not give up. Very close to unbreaking in stride but disgusted by the first balls of the Serb, Khachanov increased in power until picking up, finally, at 4-4. More enterprising, more aggressive, more combative, he had more the face of Djokovic’s scorer in the final of the Paris-Bercy Masters in 2018, than that of a player who now remains on 13 defeats in a row against members of the top 10 .

Novak Djokovic

Credit: Getty Images

Khachanov raises his voice before cracking

Opposite, the Serb showed the first signs of feverishness, with two double faults, a few less well-chosen choices, and a less clear desire to take the exchange on his own. Above all, it started to crack on a few long rallies, which was never the case in the first moto. Still, even in difficulty, the “Djoker” showed a very interesting face. And the two actors offered us a second round of very high level concluded by a tie break much less hung.

Because when making the decision, Djokovic became cold again. The 4-2 point, marked by two drop shots from the Serbian and a great burst of energy from the Russian, marked a real turning point. Physically affected, Khachanov then got up on a setback which followed, however, a big comeback on his part. Djoko, he was able to validate his two excellent returns that followed, to win this second round and the match. A month after his expulsion from Australia, here he is on his way to the quarterfinals, where he certainly expected to find Bautista. It will ultimately be Vesely.

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