DUBAI: Top-seed Novak Djokovic lifted the fourth Dubai Tennis Championships title after defeating third-seed Tomas Berdych 7-5,6-3 in the final at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on Saturday.
The world number one from Serbia needed one hour and 34 minutes to clear the final hurdle between him and the trophy. He took $ 429,600 in the prize money.
Extending his match winning streak to 18, the three-time Australian Open winner, who didn’t drop the set in the entire tournament, had to dig deep in the first set. Czech Republic’s Berydch broke Djokovic’s serve in the fifth game of the first set when the game was even at 2-2. The Serb got the break later at 4-3 when the world number six from Czech struck a volley into the net. Djokovic later converted two break points to pocket the set 7-5.
In the second set, Djokovic started well and while capitalising on Berdych’s errors the top-seed got the break which allowed him to go up 5-3 and then serve out the match to capture the title.
“I managed to hold my serve. I was serving perfectly today and I really felt that I could rely on my serve. In tough moments, that part of my game actually helped me to prevail. To be honest, I haven’t played as aggressive as I played in the yesterday’s game. He missed a few easy shots on break points in both the sets that gave me the victory basically,” he said.
“Talking about the close first set, the Serb said: I just wanted to hang on there and just try to wait for my chance to come back in the match. I started believing in myself and stayed tough.”
Djokovic’s last loss came to Sam Querrey in the opening round of the Paris Masters in October last year. Berdych has now lost all 12 of his hard-court meetings with Djokovic. En route to the final, Djokovic defeated compatriot Viktor Troicki 6-1,6-4, overcame a late stumble to beat Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 7-6, pounded seventh-seed Andreas Seppi 6-0,6-3 and overwhelmed fourth-seed Juan Martin del Potro 6-3,7-6 in the semi-finals.
The 25-year-old Serb has won three consecutive titles here in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Last year he lost to Andy Murray in the semi-finals.
The 27-year-old from Czech was the first player to reach the final here after Jiri Novak who lost to Roger Federer in 2003. The lone Czech winner of the title in the tournament history was Karel Novacek who defeated Fabrice Santoro in final match in the year 1993. He finished as runner-up in the Marseille Open after losing to Jo Wilfried Tsonga.
“I had couple of chances but playing against the top player it’s just advantage but not something really huge. It was a quite good game, but was not enough today. He Novak (Djokovic) deserved to win,” said Berdych.