• ATP Tour

Djokovic completes Dubai dominance

ESPN staff
March 2, 2013
Novak Djokovic could not be stopped in Dubai © Getty Images

Novak Djokovic continued his impressive recent winning run as he claimed the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a straight-sets victory over Tomas Berdych on Saturday.

Djokovic, who has not lost in a professional, individual event yet in 2013, was embroiled in an even contest with Berdych for much of their time on court - but took advantage of some hesitancy on the part of the Czech at crucial junctures to eventually seal a 7-5 6-3 victory.

"I really enjoy this event, you always have a high-quality field here," Djokovic said afterwards, accepting his trophy.

Fleetingly, it appeared as if third seed Berdych might cause an upset, as he came firing out of the blocks to clinch an early break of serve against his in-form opponent. But Djokovic has proven himself capable of winning critical points at vital moments throughout his career and, as the opening set wore on, he did so once again.

With Berdych serving at 4-3 up in the stanza the Australian Open champion really turned the screw - seeing one break point squandered after an unfortunate net cord; then fortuitously taking a subsequent opportunity after Berdych volleyed into the net with the whole court gaping.

That unforced error felt like the turning point in the match, but it was a later mistake that ultimately decided the first set. Serving to force a tiebreak, Berdych again found himself in a hole as Djokovic's probing returns prevented him from manufacturing the easy hold he needed - and it was one he proved unable to escape from, after a double-fault on set point left him staring at defeat.

The second set followed a similar pattern - with the difference again proving to be Djokovic's almost super-human ability to raise his game for the biggest points. The Czech engineered one break point opportunity but was unable to take it, whereas the world No. 1 managed to convert his only opening to consistently hold the upper hand.

In the end that proved decisive, as Djokovic fended off a late charge on his final service game to win the tournament after Berdych could not get a deep backhand back across the net.

"I did not have enough today," Berdych said. "I will try to do this again [to reach the final], I'll work hard to improve. I would like to come again and fight for the victory here."

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