Djokovic defeats Troicki in all-Serbian clash; Del Potro survives scare

Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic won three consecutive titles in Dubai between 2009 and 2011.

Story highlights

  • World No. 1 Novak Djokovic into the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships
  • Djokovic defeats fellow Serbian Victor Troicki 6-1 6-4 in just over an hour
  • The 25-year-old won three consecutive titles in Dubai between 2009 and 2011
  • Juan Martin del Potro saves three match points in victory over Marcos Baghdatis

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic began his quest for a fourth title at the Dubai Tennis Championships with a straight forward victory over fellow Serbian Victor Troicki.

The 25-year-old won three consecutive titles in Dubai between 2009 and 2011 before 17-time grand slam champion Roger Federer triumphed last year.

Djokovic, who won the first major of the year at the Australian Open in January, is playing in his first ATP Tour event as he looks to maintain his unbeaten start to the season.

His victory in Melbourne raised the prospect that Djokovic, who has won five of the last nine grand slam titles, could complete a clean sweep of the majors for the first time since Rod Laver in 1969.

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Asked whether he could go on another run like the one at the start of the 2011 season that saw him unbeaten for 43 matches he said in an on-court interview: "Yes I am definitely am (on a streak).

"But I am not thinking about it or trying to better the one I had in 2011, because it's really hard to ask from myself something which may be impossible.

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"But knowing that I have done it gives me that mental edge and confidence I need in to approach every tournament with self-belief."

Djokovic enjoys an impressive record over Troicki, losing just once in their last 13 encounters, and broke his opponent's first service game to set the tone for the match.

Though the world No. 44 put up a better fight in the second set, Djokovic rarely looked in any danger as he wrapped up the match in just over an hour.

"Because I have not played for a while I was extremely focused and committed to starting well," Djokovic added.

"I played really, really well in the first set. I read his serve well, and I was aggressive in the court. So altogether I am satisfied with my performance and I hope I can continue."

Elsewhere, the No. 4 seed Juan Martin del Potro was forced to save three match points during a hard fought 4-6 6-4 7-6 victory over Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.

The Argentinean, who won the 14th ATP title of his career in Rotterdam recently, came close to losing the contest at 4-5 in the deciding set but battled back to take it on a tiebreak.

He's a great player," del Potro told the ATP Tour's official website. "He fights like me every point, and we had fantastic rallies. I'm so glad to beat him tonight in Dubai.

"I played fantastic forehands to keep playing this match. Then in the end, of course, you need a little bit of luck to win these kinds of matches, and I think I played solid on important points in the third."

Tomas Berdych, the No. 3 seed, had no such problems as he accounted for American wild card Rajeev Ram 6-1 6-3 in less than an hour.

The 27-year-old was runner up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at last week's Marseille Open, despite having a match point. He made the Dubai semis in 2011, losing to Djokovic.

Nikolay Davydenko edged past the No. 6 seed, Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia. The Russian, who is retiring at the end of this year, triumphed 6-0 7-5.

There were also victories on Thursday for Marcel Granollers, of Spain, Romania's Victor Hanescu, Tobias Kamke, from Germany and Russia's Dmitry Tursunov.