World no.1 Novak Djokovic made winning return to Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday, as he comfortably beat Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri.
The four-time former champion recorded a 6-1, 6-2 victory in one hour, breaking Jaziri twice in the first and second sets, and having denied his rival a single break point opportunity.
With the win, Novak improved his perfect W/L record in 2020 to 14-0.
“It’s a great way to start out the tournament,” said Djokovic. “I really enjoy playing here. I enjoy night sessions. I think I’ve done everything as well as I imagined it to be for the first match. Of course, there are things that always can be improved, things that can be better. But I have to be satisfied with the performance.”
Match statistics: aces (7-2), double faults (3-3), winners (22-5), unforced errors (17-12), total points won (58-31).
Novak will next meet German Philipp Kohlschreiber (11-2 H2H record), who defeated Mohamed Safwat of Egypt in three sets (4-6, 6-4, 6-0).
Looking ahead to the second round challenge, the Serbian star said: “I lost to him in straight sets in Indian Wells last year. I am aware of what he’s capable of. He likes playing top players on a big stage. He has lots of experience, he’s very fit. I will not underestimate him. I will prepare myself. I’m feeling good on the court. Tonight was another testament to the way I feel. Confidence. Striking the ball well. Hopefully that can continue in the next match.”
Novak teamed up with Marin Cilic in the doubles competition. They fell to top seeds Rajeev Ram (USA) and Joe Salisbury (GBR) 2-6, 2-6 in Round 1.
Photo: Michael Babic