Djokovic Pulls Through to Defend Dubai Title
February 28, 2010 · Print This Article
Having won the first set over No. 7 seed Mikhail Youzhny, Djokovic had a service break in hand before heavy rain ended Saturday’s action.
However, the resumption of Sunday’s final meant Djokovic would have to play his fourth consecutive three-set match. The Serb’s 7-5, 2-0 lead would soon evaporate, courtesy of a Youzhny serve break during the fifth game of the set.
Djokovic would steer ahead once again to hold an opportunity for a 5-3 lead, but overhit a routine forehand and squandered his opportunity of putting the Russian away. Youzhny required a second chance at forcing a third set, after failing to capture the set at 5-4. Not making the same mistake the second time around, the 28-year-old Russian broke Djokovic in the 12th game.
Fighting off early adversity by Youzhny in the seventh game of the third set, Djokovic saved two break points and 15-40, 3-3 to go ahead 4-3.
Pulling ahead at 5-3, Djokovic would seal victory with a final break of serve.
Defending the first title of his professional career, Djokovic acknowledged the many variables that went into his success in Dubai.
“It means the whole world to me. Of course there are always people who are saying he can’t do it. He can’t do it. But I’m playing for myself, and this is another success in my career that I wasn’t able to make in the last two years. But now, finally, I did it, and it’s a big relief. So in the future I just hope I’ll make a couple more of those.
“It’s a big boost because I believe in myself. Even when I play bad, I know I have the abilities… Today was another good example of how much I believe in myself and how much I fight till the end.”
Pocketing $383,000 in prize money and 500 ATP World Tour points, Djokoivc will remain over 3000 points behind No. 1 ranked Roger Federer in the rankings.
Djokovic joked with the media about his inability to close out his competition in straight sets—having gone three sets in his last four matches.
“Obviously this tournament I don’t allow myself to win in straight sets except the first round. Even when I can finish the job in two sets, I still want to play. Thinking about people who bought tickets and want to stay a bit longer (laughing).
“But, generally, it took a lot of energy for me. Stopping and playing, and coming back and then again stopping the match last night because of the rain. As I was saying, if we continued last night, I think I had much better chances to get the job done in two sets. I felt really well on the court, hitting the ball, feeling relaxed. Today I was really nervous before the match, during the match for no reason. [But] winning the tournament in any way, it’s a huge success.”
Youzhny, who fell to 10-3 on the season, took home $180,000 for his efforts, and 300 ATP World Tour points.
“Before the tournament if you say you’ll play the final, you say good result. But now straight after the final, when you have some chances [I am disappointed]… It was good match for me. It was a good level of tennis. I’m disappointed because I lost, but I’m happy because it was a good level of game.
“It was a very close set. Today I understand I have to try to play aggressive, maybe more aggressive than normal if I want to continue, if I want to save this match.”
Both Djokovic and Youznhy will now head to their respective Davis Cup venues to prepare for next week’s first-round ties.
Djokovic will lead his team against the Americans in Belgrade, while Youzhny and his Russian teammates will host India in Moscow.
Quotes courtesy of atpworldtour.com.