• ATP Tour

Djokovic survives scare before overcoming Lopez

ESPN staff
February 23, 2011
Novak Djokovic now moves on to play Florian Mayer © PA Photos

Novak Djokovic extended his unbeaten record, which dates back to November, with a three-set victory over Feliciano Lopez in the Dubai Duty Free Championship.

The Serb, who has now won 11 consecutive matches, survived a second-set scare before booking his place in the quarters with a 6-3 2-6 6-4 success.

Djokovic went into the match carrying an unbeaten record against Lopez, and he looked set to extend that run after breezing through the first set - despite never hitting his top level.

Djokovic's serve provided a solid foundation, with just two points surrendered on the opening delivery, and he used his devastating groundstrokes to claim a decisive break.

The momentum shifted violently during the second set as Lopez, who was searching for his first-quarter-final of the year, began to play more aggressively, steaming into the net whenever possible. His change of strategy yielded rich rewards, with two breaks allowing him to force a decider.

But Lopez's charge was halted by Djokovic's rapid start to the final set, which saw the world No. 3 clinch a break in the opening game. Lopez would go on to break back, but Djokovic stole one against the serve in the subsequent game to set up a clash against Florian Mayer.

In the following game world No. 2 Roger Federer made relatively light-work of determined Spaniard Marcel Granollers, eventually winning 6-3 6-4.

Granollers made a good job of sticking with his more illustrious opponent throughout the clash, but a break of serve at the very start of the second set ultimately allowed the Suiss to serve out for the match without ever really being put under too much duress.

Third seed Tomas Berdych booked a place in the quarter-finals by beating Nikolay Davydenko for only the second time in 11 attempts. Davydenko, who has now lost four of his last five matches, sank to a 6-4 7-6(5) defeat after giving away three breaks across one hour and 43 minutes of action.

Other winners in round two included Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon - both in straight sets - while eighth seed Ernests Gulbis was the only major casuality as he fell 6-3 5-7 6-1 to Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.

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