Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic picked up where he left off in Melbourne a few weeks ago, sailing past Tommy Robredo in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Djokovic needed just 66 minutes to beat the Spaniard 6-1 6-2, setting up 13 break points and converting four of them, while losing just seven points in total on his own serve.
“Obviously playing my first match in three weeks, different conditions, I didn’t know how I would start, whether or not I would execute the game plan as I prepared myself to,” Djokovic told the ATP Tour website. “But everything went well. Very few things went wrong.
“I was putting constant pressure on his serve. I returned very, very well. Served solid and was aggressive from the back of the court. I cannot be happier with this performance.”
The 28-year-old Serb now moves on to face Malek Jaziri in round two. The match will have special significance as, should Djokovic win, it would be his 700th career victory.
“Every milestone is very special, of course. I wish that I make the 700th win in this tournament, obviously,” said Djokovic.
“But it’s not going to affect too much my preparation for the next match. It’s not going to change too much the way I approach the next match or this tournament. Of course I’ll be very pleased if it happens here.
“Jaziri told me he had a great off-season and it pays off. He won a couple of matches in Australia and here. Let’s see what happens. He plays quite different from Robredo. He’s standing closer to the line, he has flat shots and better serve. Got to be ready for it.”
Also in action on Monday was Canada’s Vasek Pospisil, who was made to work hard for his 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Lucas Pouille – only his second win of the season.
Sixth seed Feliciano Lopez won the all-Spanish battle against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, while there were also wins for Malek Jaziri and Hyeon Chung.