Novak Djokovic on Monday continued his hot early season form, cruising past Tunisian wild-card Malek Jaziri 6-1, 6-2 into the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
The top seed and four-time champion made short work of Jaziri, who is ranked 260th in the world.
Djokovic owns a perfect 14-0 record this season after winning a title for Serbia at the ATP Cup followed by a record-extending eighth Australian Open crown.
The world No. 1 crashed seven aces past Jaziri in a match that lasted little more than an hour.
“A one-hour match... I did everything as well as I imagined it to be for the first match. Of course, there’s things that always can be improved, things that can be better, but I have to be satisfied with the performance,” Djokovic said.
He reeled off the opening set in less than half an hour, broke twice in the second set and served out the win on his first match point.
The Serbian next faces Philipp Kohlschreiber after the German veteran advanced past Egyptian Mohamed Safwat 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.
“It’s a great way to start out the tournament,” Djokovic said, who is playing the event for the first time since 2016. “I missed playing here. I really enjoy it. I enjoy night sessions. Philipp can deliver his best game in these kind of matches. He’s very capable. I’ll try to be ready.”
French third seed Gael Monfils, winner of back to back events this month in Montpellier, France, and Rotterdam, Netherlands, beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-5 in a match that lasted two hours.
“It was a battle for me, I didn’t play my best and I’m disappointed about that,” Monfils said. “I was just running to cover the court, I still believed even if I was playing poorly. I’m not so happy about tonight.”
Earlier, Karen Khachanov earned a 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 win over Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin to reach the second round.
The world No. 17, who lives in Dubai, twice hit back from a break down in the opening set, before cruising through the second.
“The first round is pretty tough, I always try to get used to it,” Khachanov said. “I’m really happy I could get the win. I have another match, another opportunity to play better, like always, to improve.”
In yesterday’s early first-round matches, Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun fell to a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 loss to Japanese qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama in 1 hour, 50 minutes.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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