Novak Djokovic at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on March 1, 2023.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN YBERA/EXPAT MEDIA
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is into the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after he beat Tallon Griekspoor on Wednesday (March 1).
The Serb booked himself a spot in the final eight after he defeated the Dutchman with a score of 6-2, 6-3.
Griekspoor, 26, is regarded as one of a growing band of up-and-coming players on the ATP Tour having set a single-season record for most titles – eight – on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2021.
Djokovic, celebrating a record 378 weeks at the top of the world rankings this week, joked afterwards that “the new generation is coming, but I’m not afraid.”
The No.1 seed at Dubai’s ATP 500 tournament comfortably wrapped up the first set in a little more than half an hour, playing a variety of booming baseline forehands and cute, disguised cross-court slices.
At the start of the second, the big-hitting Serb needed just 12 minutes to race into a 3-0 lead, yet it would take him a further 16 minutes to secure the fourth as Griekspoor found his fight, saving five break points during an epic 14-deuce game.
With Djokovic holding serve to take the set to 5-0, Griekspoor – ranked a career-high World No. 39 – saved two match points to hold his own service game, before breaking his illustrious opponent, who double-faulted at the crucial moment. After the Dutchman held serve for 5-3, Djokovic quickly closed out the match.
“It’s been a great evening for me tonight,” Djokovic said, “Yesterday [against Tomas Machac] I really had to work hard to get a win. Tonight, I think right from the blocks, from the beginning I was sharp. I played better quality tennis than I did last night. Maybe the last three, four games weren’t the best, to close the match, but I managed to find a good serve in the end. I’m very pleased with the way I felt on the court.” ICA/Expat Media
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