World number one Novak Djokovic claimed his fourth Dubai Tennis Championship on the weekend, with a straight-sets win over Tomas Berdych. Playing in his first tournament since he retained his Australian Open title in January, the Serb was calm under pressure and has now won five of the last six tournaments he has contested.
Not including his Hopman Cup defeat to our own Bernard Tomic (which doesn’t have official ATP Tour status), Djokovic has now won 18 consecutive singles matches and is unbeaten in 2013. He failed to drop a set all tournament, on his way to taking out his 36th career title.
However the Serb didn’t have it all his own way in the 7-5 6-3 result over the world number six. Berdych was the first to break serve in the opening set but failed to consolidate it and then missed the chance to again go ahead when he couldn’t convert from three break points in the following game.
Djokovic showed all his class and mental strength, bringing out some of his notoriously big returns with Berdych serving to force the first set to a tie-break. He buckled under the relenting pressure from the 25-year-old, who needed only one more break of serve in the following set to clinch the title.
This was not without incident, as Djokovic was issued with a time violation from the umpire as he was serving to close out the match. He kept his composure though, completing the match in under two hours. Berdych, who had knocked out defending champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals, proved himself to be a worthy adversary but simply could not match the world number one on the big points.
Always the humble gentlemen in victory Djokovic said after the match; “To prevail like this and to be the last one standing is thrilling for me. It was a very close match and could of gone either way. It was never going to be an easy final because Tomas is a fantastic player.”
Attention now turns to the US, for this month’s Masters series, where Djokovic will be hoping to continue his strong run of form. The Serb predicting more aggressive tennis when the world’s best take to the court and we bet he can’t wait to come up against Rafael Nadal, who continues to go from strength to strength since making his long-awaited come-back from injury.
Of course we’ve got our own competition tennis series about to start at Strathfield Sports Club, with the imminent commencement of the Autumn Badge competition. Good luck to all our members who will be representing the Club. We’re sure you will play with distinction and sportsmanship and we look forward to cheering you on, to give you that home court advantage when you play on the grass at SSC.