Top seed Novak Djokovic extended his crushing superiority over Serb compatriot Viktor Troicki with a 6-1, 6-4 hammering, winning for the 12th time in 13 meetings in their first-round match.
Djokovic stormed through the first set in 21 minutes and broke for 2-1 in the second as he ruled the court. He lost serve for 4-all but broke straight back and closed out the victory a game later. “I haven’t played a match for a month since Davis Cup,” said the winner. “So I was extra-focused for a goods start. I was controlling the ball well and reading his serve. I also played aggressive. It was the good start I had hoped for and I hope to keep it up.”
Djokovic now stands 24-3 in Dubai, where he won titles 2009-11. Third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga fell victim to a quick change of court and continents after winning Marseille at the weekend. He lost to fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra 7-6(3), 6-2. But the losing finalist in France, Czech Tomas Berdych, pulled up just fine as he showed in a defeat of Rajeev Ram 6-1, 6-3.
Argentine Juan Del Potro fought for two and a half hours and saved three match points before finally beating Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) Baghdatis, a 2010 semi-finalist, surprised Del Potro by winning the opening set but could not close out the upset while leading a set and 5-4. Del Potro saved all three match-winners and kept up the pressure to take the contest into a deciding tiebreaker.
Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko won a bizarre match 6-0, 7-5, over dissatisfied Serb sixth seed Janko Tipsarevic, the first set of taking 50 minutes with the opening two games eating up half an hour. The opening game took 13 minutes, with Davydenko saving seven break points. The second lasted 17 minutes and resulted in a 2-0 lead for the Russian, a finalist last month in Doha.
Davydenko will play for a quarter-final spot against Romanian Victor Hanescu who needed only a short time on court before Australian Bernard Tomic quit trailing 3-2 with illness. Marcel Granollers won a battle of Spaniards over Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-1 to next play five-time champion Roger Federer.
With six of the men’s top 10 playing in Dubai, with the other two – David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal – are trying their luck on clay this week. With doubts swirling – and now denied – about Nadal’s willingness to put his dodgy knees through torture on American hardcourts from next week, the Spaniard is taking a wait-and-see attitude.
Both top seed Ferrer and No. 2 Nadal eased through into the second round with Ferrer beating Antonio Veic 6-0, 6-3 and Nadal starting out easy over Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-2. Third seed Nicolas Almagro made it a Spanish sweep as he defeated Mexican Cesar Ramirez 6-0, 6-1.
But there was an upset loss for Swiss fourth seed Stan Wawrinka as last week’s Argentine finalist was beaten at the opening hurdle by Italy’s Fabio Fognini 6-2, 7-6(3). Andrey Kuznetsov put out Brazilian sixth seed Tomaz Bellucci 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Other wins included: Paulo Lorenzi over french seventh seed Benoit Paire 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, number eight Horacio Zeballos over Simone Bolelli of Italy 7-5, 6-1 and Wayne Odesnik over Pole Lukasz Kubot 6-3, 6-4.
Aljaz Bedene knocked out Argentine former top 10 ace David Nalbandian 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 while Spain’s Daniel Gimeno-Traver beat Argentine Carlos Berlocq 6-3, 6-2 and Tommy Robredo defeated Filippo Volandri 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
John Isner snapped out of self-pity mode – at least for the day – to win into the second round as he beat Jesse Levine of Canada 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-4. Top seed Isner has had a misery start to 2013, with a knee injury keeping him out of the Australian Open and little to show by way of results on court after losing 10 of 17 matches.
Second seed Tommy Haas, the San Jose finalist who had to quit last week in Memphis with a viral problem, showed he’s back to fitness, winning as Dutchman Igor Sijsling retired with an ankle injury trailing 5-7, 6-4. Ivo Karlovic beat Memphis champion and fourth seed Kei Nishikori 5-4 as the Japanese quit with an abdominal muscle strain.
Sixth seed Kevin Anderson put out American Tim Smyczek 6-3, 6-4, Japan’s Go Soeda stopped Aussie Marinko Matosevic 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(6), saving three match points, Lu Yen–Hsun beat Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 7-5 while Educardo Roger-Vasselin stopped Italy’s Flavio Cipolla 6-1, 6-4.
©Daily Tennis News Wire