Top-seed Novak Djokovic continued his unbeaten run in the 2023 season, outplaying Tallon Griekspoor to ease into the quarterfinals at the Dubai Championships. The Serbian star saw out a ferocious challenge from the Dutchman Griekspoor and produced a dominating show to clinch a straight set 6-2, 6-3 win on Wednesday. World no.1 Djokovic extended his winning streak to 19 matches in tidy fashion a day after being pushed to a third-set tiebreaker by 130th-ranked Tomas Machac. Djokovic will take on Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the quarter-final.
Djokovic, who did not play competitive tennis for a month, showed more frustration during his three-set battle with Czech qualifier Machac in the first round on Tuesday. But the Serbian ace proved why he is the no.1 ranked player by showing his class in the round of 16. Djokovic struck the ball cleanly from the start against Griekspoor. The 35-year-old broke his opponent four times to race to an 82-minute victory. Djokovic secured a comfortable win against one of the in-form players on the ATP Tour.
Djokovic, who is chasing his sixth title in Dubai, admitted that yesterday, he really had to work hard to get a win. But tonight, he was sharp against Griekspoor.
Djokovic expressed that the 26-year-old Dutchman is one of the most improved players on the tour. The new generations are coming, but I am not afraid, a smiling Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
Meanwhile, defending champion Andrey Rublev battled past Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to register an excellent 1-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) comeback win to reach the quarter-final in Dubai. The 25-year-old Russian saved five match points in the second-set tiebreaker. He played strong to win seven straight points after going down 1-6. It was the third time this season Rublev has saved match points en route to victory.
Rublev will play Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp to seal a spot in the semi-final. Davidovich Fokina fell behind 1-6 in the third-set tiebreaker and saved two match points before Rublev finished him off on the third try.
In my head, the match was done, Rublev said at a press conference. I have no words. These matches, when it is over and somehow you win them it’s always special, the second-seeded Russian concluded.
Earlier in the day, Italian Lorenzo Sonego upset fourth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6 (4), 6-4, and will face Alexander Zverev in the final eight. German Zverev defeated qualifier Christopher O’Connell 7-5, 6-4.