Djokovic eases to Dubai victory
Novak Djokovic recorded a comfortable 6-1 6-4 victory over Viktor Troicki in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
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Playing competitively for the first time since Davis Cup duty in early February, Djokovic defeated his fellow Serbian to extend his unbeaten run to 14 matches.
The top seed was broken in the second set but in truth had few problems; Troicki failed to bother the Australian Open champion with his early serve-and-volley tactics as he was beaten for a 13th time in 14 meetings.
"I had three or four weeks of no tennis, so I was extremely focused to start well and I did really well in the first set," Djokovic said. "I was right behind his serve and I'm very satisfied with my performance and hopefully I can continue."
Fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was beaten 7-6 (7/3) 6-2 by Michael Llodra in his first-round match.
Llodra's victory was his first in seven attempts against his fellow Frenchman.
In other opening-round action on Tuesday, Juan Martin del Potro saved three match points before finally seeing off Marcos Baghdatis 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7/4).
The former US Open champion found himself 4-1 down in the deciding set but fought back impressively against his Cypriot opponent to level matters.
He then had to hold his nerve with the match on the line in the 10th game, some big serves getting him out of trouble as Baghdatis looked set to cause a shock. In the end, though, he succumbed to Del Potro in a tie-break.
"Marcos also deserved to win but the luck was behind me and I played better in the big moments," Del Potro said afterwards. "In the tie-break I was solid."
Janko Tipsarevic suffered an early exit, the sixth seed going down 6-0 7-5 in sweltering conditions to Russian Nikolay Davydenko.
The first two games took 31 minutes to complete, with Serbian Tipsarevic going through three rackets in the opening three games. He then held a 4-1 lead in the second set before losing six of the next seven games.
There were no such problems for third seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, however, as he strolled past wild card Rajeev Ram 6-1 6-3.