Novak Djokovic, the four-time champion at Dubai, needed just 59 minutes to wrap up his Round of 16 encounter against Philipp Kohlschreiber as he breezed past the veteran German 6-3, 6-1 to find a place in the quarter-finals for the 11th time so far in his illustrious career. In the process, the 17-time Grand Slam champion extended his unbeaten run to 15-0 so far this season, following his victory over Kohlschreiber.
In the quarter-final, the world no.1 will be up against the 23-year-old Russian, Karen Khachanov, who himself hasn’t dropped a set so far at the ATP Dubai Championships 2020 and recorded a 6-3, 6-4 win over Dennis Novak to qualify for the quarter-final of the tournament.
In the head-to-head record so far on the ATP tour, Djokovic leads Khachanov 2-1 and the Russian’s only victory against the former came at the Paris Masters 1000 in 2018, when he upset the Serb in straight sets 7-5, 6-4 in the final to lift his maiden and only Masters 1000 title so far of his career.
While Khachanov started this season on a promising note with four straight victories at the ATP Cup Down Under earlier this year, the young Russian has stumbled on the tour thereafter, losing five of his next eight matches, and even suffered a first round exit at the Open 13 at Marseille last week.
In his fourth appearance at the Dubai Open, this is Khachanov’s first instance of qualifying for the quarter-finals as he aims for resurgence on the tour, especially after going through a disastrous season in 2019, where he failed to win even a single title on the tour.
As far as Djokovic is concerned, his dream run in 2020 continues as he appears to become even more invincible with each passing victory and looks to be a hot favourite to win his fifth title at Dubai on Sunday.
With Djokovic and Khachanov predominantly being baseline players, one can expect an array of breathtaking exchanges between the two, especially if the young Russian can bring his ‘A’ game to the quarter-final clash against the world no.1.
In perhaps the biggest match of his season so far, can Khachanov stun the Serb or will Djokovic continue his unbeaten run so far in 2020 to stay in the hunt for his fifth title at Dubai?
If Khachanov can pour his heart out in his upcoming quarter-final clash against Djokovic, he might stand a chance against an in-form and unstoppable Serb or it might curtains for the 23-year old Russian.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets.Published 27 Feb 2020, 12:37 IST