- Abhijit Deshmukh
Dubai :-World no.1 Novak Djokovic began his bid for a fifth Dubai crown by defeating Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri 6-1 6-2 to reach the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday. Third seed Gael Monfils, sixth seed Andrey Rublev and seventh seed Karen Khachanov also enjoyed opening round victories.
Monfils overcame Marton Fucsovics 6-4 7-5, Rublev beat qualifier Lorenzo Musetti 6-4 6-4 and Dubai resident Khachanov defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6 (2) 6-1. Richard Gasquet overcame qualifier Lloyd Harris 7-6 (5) 6-4.
“I lost to him in straight sets in Indian Wells last year,” Djokovic recalled. “I am aware of what he's capable of. He likes actually playing top players on a big stage. He has lots of experience. He's very fit. He keeps on playing even at that age on a high level. I certainly will not underestimate him. As I said before, our last meeting I lost to him in straight sets on the hard courts. I will prepare myself. I'm feeling good on the court. Tonight was another testament to the way I feel. Confidence, obviously striking the ball well. Hopefully that can continue in the next match.”
Djokovic will now face 36 year-old Tour veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber, who overcame Egyptian wild card Mohamed Safwat, winning 4-6 6-4 6-0. It is not a match he will take lightly.