by: Tom Cochrane

Tuesday saw all of the big names at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships record wins, with top guns Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych all completing straight sets victories.

World number one Djokovic, in search of the fiftieth title of his career and a fifth trophy in Dubai, downed the big-serving Canadian Vasek Pospisil in straight sets, 6-4 6-4. The top seeded Djokovic, who had not played an official match since winning the Australian Open last month, was solid without being spectacular against the world number 63, showing his experience and class on the big points. Australian Open finalist Murray looked good against Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, the world number 3 taking down the leftie 6-4 7-5.

Berdych, who lost a hard-fought semi-final to Murray at Melbourne Park last month, faced a tricky assignment against the big-hitting Jeremy Chardy. After squeezing through a first set tiebreaker against the Frenchman after having squandered an early break, Berdych improved his level in the second set and took advantage of a whopping 35 unforced errors for the match from Chardy to claim a 7-6(2) 6-4 victory. Rising star Borna Coric, a lucky loser from qualifying who only made it into the main draw courtesy of Philipp Kohlschreiber’s withdrawal due to illness, made the most of his second chance, defeating Tunisian Malek Jaziri in a hard-fought 3-setter. The news was not so good for some of Coric’s contemporaries, with fellow youngsters David Goffin and Dominic Thiem bowing out to Marcos Baghdatis and Roberto Bautista Agut respectively.

In a battle of the Spaniards, former Australian Open semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco ousted Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets. Verdasco’s reward for his win? A meeting tonight with 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. Given the fast conditions at the Aviation Club, Verdasco has to be given an outside chance on the basis of his big serve and lightning fast forehand, but as a 6-time winner in Dubai it is clear that Federer enjoys the conditions immensely. That match follows the evening’s first match on Centre Court, between Kazakh Andrey Golubev and top seed Djokovic. Golubev, although ranked just outside the world’s top 100 at present, is no pushover, having defeated the likes of Stan Wawrinka and Fernando Verdasco in 2014. That said, Djokovic is likely to have to much consistency and composure for the Kazakh and I expect the Serb to record a comfortable straight sets victory in this clash.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the tennis and I’ll be back with another serve tomorrow. In the meantime, follow all of the action on Twitter: @satelliteserve.


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