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Dubai Open 2020: 3 takeaways from the tournament

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic
ANALYST
Modified 29 Feb 2020
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Novak Djokovic defeated returning finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to win the Dubai Open for the fifth time in his career.

One break of serve in the first and two in the second sufficed as the Serb lifted his second title of the season following his record-extending 8th triumph at the Australian Open which came on the heels of his successful outing at the ATP Cup.

Making his first appearance in Dubai since a quarterfinal loss to Feliciano Lopez in 2016, Djokovic looked to have met his match in Gael Monfils in the semifinals. Down a set and a break and then facing three consecutive match points in the second set tiebreak, Djokovic fought back from the brink, not for the first time in his career, to extend his perfect record against the Frenchman to 17-0.

Also read: Djokovic and his fascination for saving match points.

Having lived to fight another day, Djokovic made the most of it, overwhelming young Greek Tsitsipas in a straight-set affair to lift his 79th career singles title and extend his perfect start to the season to 18-0.

On that note, let us have a look at 3 big stories from the 2020 ATP Dubai Open:

#1 Djokovic records his best start to an ATP season in 9 years

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

After winning all 6 of his singles matches at the inaugural ATP Cup and following it up with an eighth successful title run at the Australian Open, Djokovic won all of his matches at the Dubai Open to extend his perfect start to 18-0.

During this period, only Denis Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev (both at the ATP Cup), Jan-Lennard Struff, Dominic Thiem (both at the Australian Open), and Gael Monfils (Dubai) have managed to take a set off the Serb, who maintained his stranglehold at the top of the ATP Rankings.

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Also read: Djokovic's 3 best starts to an ATP season.

#2 Monfils is the fifth player to lose 17 times to an opponent without winning once

Monfils (right) greets Djokovic at the net following their semifinal
Monfils (right) greets Djokovic at the net following their semifinal

Having come up second best in all 16 of his previous meetings with Djokovic, Gael Monfils had his best opportunity to end his debilitating run against the Serb when he led by a set and a break and then had three consecutive match points in the second set tiebreak, two of them on his own serve.

Surely Djokovic would not reprise his 2019 Wimbledon role again?

Monfils got tight at the most inopportune moment, blazing a backhand wide and a forehand long before Djokovic hit a forehand winner to erase a third match point. The moment had come and gone for Monfils in the blink of an eye.

Few points later, it was a set apiece. Djokovic then cruised through the third, dropping only one game, as Monfils endured his 17th defeat against the Serb in as many meetings.

#3 Dan Evans saves match points to reach his first ATP 500 semifinal

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Dan Evans
Dan Evans

Dan Evans saved multiple match points before seeing off Pierre Hugues Herbert in a third set tiebreak in a second round match at the 2020 Dubai Open.

Having earlier beaten Fabio Fognini in the first round, Evans made it a hat-trick of match wins in Dubai by beating one of the season's form players, Andrey Rublev, in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

In the process, Evans reached his first ATP 500 semifinal, losing to eventual runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Published 29 Feb 2020, 22:21 IST
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