World number one and the longest reigning champion in Dubai, Novak Djokovic, needed almost two hours to extend his unbroken record by downing fellow Balkan, Tomas Machac, on centre court yesterday, at the ongoing Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The duo exchanged service breaks at the start of the first set, but the Serb soon raced to a quick 5-2 lead at their first ever meeting, eventually serving out the set for 6-3. The second set wasn’t smooth sailing for the world number one, as he lost his serve at the start of the second set, but he struggled to hold the set.
Elsewhere, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime outlasted hard-serving American, Maxime Cressy, to win 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 in the opening match of the championship.
Cressy, a classic serve and volley player, fired 27 aces and committed 25 double faults in a match that lasted over three hours. Auger-Aliassime proved more surgical with his serve, landing 13 aces to just one double fault. Cressy survived 13 of 14 break points, while Auger-Aliassime saved two of the three break points he faced.
The fourth-seeded Canadian next plays Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego in the tournament’s Round of 16. Sonego topped Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler 7-5 6-4.
Former world number one, Daniil Medvedev, continued his winning streak in Dubai, by beating Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi in straight sets 6-4 6-2, which set him up for a clash with Alexander Bublik in the next round. Arnaldi held on as much as he could, especially at the start when he fended off some early break points. It was all for nothing though, as Medvedev got the break and from then on, cruised to a 6-4 first set finish. The second set was even simpler for the Russian as he took an early break and then added another one to finish it off 6-2.