If anyone was hoping for Novak Djokovic to slow down after winning a staggering eighth title at the Australian Open earlier this month, then they were in for a disappointment. The 17-time Grand Slam winner, who has climbed back to the pinnacle of the world rankings, is in no mood to relent.
And he made it very clear when he pulverized the 260th-ranked Tunisian wildcard, Malek Jaziri 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2020 on Monday. It was the same scoreline that the Serb notched up over Jaziri at the very same venue four years ago.
Showing that same sharpness and conviction, the World No. 1 produced 7 aces and 21 winners, besides making in-roads into his opponent's service game four times without conceding a single break point on his own serve. It was purely a masterclass from the 32-year-old who very much showed his intent to leave Dubai with his fifth crown.
Up next for him is the veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber - a 36-year-old German endowed with an all-court game. With a career-high world ranking of 16, Kohlschreiber is certainly one player who is capable of causing an upset and he displayed that when he knocked out Djokovic on the hardcourts of Indian Wells last year for his second victory over the Serb out of 13 career meetings.
Djokovic, however, was quick to regain control of their rivalry and beat the German in each of their three subsequent showdowns during the clay and grass season. What would not favour Kohlschreiber further is the fact that he was involved in a 2-hour battle in his 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 win over Mohamed Safwat in the first round in Dubai whereas Djokovic spent one hour less on the court.
In terms of freshness as well as confidence, Djokovic has the edge and he wouldn't like to make any mistake in his quest to get the title at this tournament after seven years.
Here's all you need to know about the ATP Dubai Tennis Championships 2020 Schedule:
Tournament: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 2020
Category: ATP 500
City: Dubai, UAE
Venue: Aviation Club Tennis Centre
Prize money: $2,950,420
Tournament schedule: February 24- February 29, 2020
Defending champion: Roger Federer
Match Schedule: (1) Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) second round match not before 8:30 pm IST on Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 11-2
Where to watch the matches in India?
The ATP Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships 2020 matches are being telecast live on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD from Monday, February 24, 2020.
Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships live stream details:
Live Stream is available on Sony Liv.