Djokovic races to 700th win
The ease with which Novak Djokovic dismantles his opponents these days makes it easy to forget the hard work he put in while growing up in a war-torn Serbia in the late 1990s.
Of course, Djokovic has reached a stage in his career where he makes everything look easy.
Like Leo Messi ‘nutmegging’ world class defenders, Ronaldo scoring insane number of goals.
Of course, it’s not easy at all. It’s hard work. They just make it look easy.
For a long time, Djokovic had lived under the shadow of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. And that is despite the Serb reinventing himself in 2011 to achieve phenomenal success.
But it is only now that he has well and truly emerged from their shadows to become the most revered man in the game.
It’s his relentless urge to keep getting better that has now put him on the threshold of threatening the positions of the game’s greatest players.
On Tuesday, Tomas Berdych felt Djokovic is playing as though he is from another planet.
There was, of course, nothing extraordinary about his 6-1 6-2 win over wildcard Malek Jaziri in the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday evening.
It was just that the victory gave the Serb his 700 career match win, helping him join some of the greatest names in an exclusive club.
The 11-time Grand Slam winner will now take on Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for a semifinal spot in the Dubai tournament where he is eyeing his fifth title.
“I'm going to try to prepare for this match well, and, you know, raise the game a little bit more than tonight,” Djokovic said after his landmark win.
“We have had many quarterfinals playing each other, quite a few quarterfinals. The only time I played him in this tournament was actually a quarterfinal -- three, four years ago.“I know he likes playing here and likes the conditions. He slices, and the ball travels through the air quickly and you've got to be very reactive, very quick with the baseline shots, especially when you play somebody like Feliciano who comes in very often.“I'm sure he's going to try to use every opportunity given to chip and charge, come to the net, serve and volley, going to try to not let me give the same look on the ball. I know that. I know what to expect.”Of course, the tennis fans in Dubai can expect a superlative performance from the world number one at the Centre Courton Thursday night.
Stanislas Wawrinka, the only man to have beaten Djokovic twice in Grand Slams in the last two years, also reached the quarters with a 7-5 6-1 win over Croatian qualifier Franko Skugor.
Marcos Baghdatis, the flamboyant Cypriot, had also booked his quarterfinal spot in the afternoon with a straight set win (6-4 6-2) over Vasek Pospisil of Canada. Nick Kyrgios of Australia was ruthless in his 6-3 6-2 win over Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan. The mercurial Aussie set up a quarterfinal date with two-time Dubai finalist Berdych.
The big-hitting 30-year-old player from the Czech Republic was in top form against Italian qualifier Thomas Fabbiano in his 6-2 6-2 win.
“It was good, no drama. It's good to play like that. And, you know, a straight-set win is also helpful. It just takes me easily into the next round,” the former Wimbledon runner up said.“I can get, you know, also a bit of time to rest. I think it's needed more and more these days just to be ready for my next opponent.”
In the first match of the day, fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain thrashed South Korean youngster Hyeon Chung 6-0 6-1.
And in the battle between the old and new on Court One, veteran German Philipp Kohlschreiber beat talented Croatian youngster Borna Coric in straight sets 6-2 7-6.
Singles Second Round
Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) beats Hyeon Chung (South Korea) 6-0 6-1; Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) beats (Q) Thomas Fabbiano (Italy) 6-2 6-3; Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beats (WC) Malek Jaziri (Tunisia) 6-1 6-2; Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus) beats Vasek Pospisil (Canada) 6-4 6-2; Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) beats Borna Coric (Croatia) 6-2 7-6; Feliciano Lopez (Spain) beats Lukas Rosol (Czech Republic) 6-3 7-6; Nick Kyrgios (Australia) v Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) 6-3 6-2; Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beats (Q) Franko Skugor (Croatia) 7-5 6-1.
Men’s Doubles First Round
Jamie Murray (Great Britain)/Tommy Robredo (Spain) beat Henri Kontinen (Finland)/John Peers (Australia) 2-6 6-4 10-8; Lukasz Kubot (Poland)/Marcin Matkowski (Poland) beat Ivan Dodig (Croatia)/Marin Draganja (Croatia) 6-4 4-6 10-7; (Q) Hyeon Chung (South Korea)/Jiri Vesely (Czech Republic) beat Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain)/Joao Sousa (Portugal) 6-7 7-6 11-9; Daniel Nestor (Canada)/ Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) beat Rohan Bopanna (India)/Florin Mergea (Romania) 3-6 7-6 10-4; Feliciano Lopez (Spain)/Marc Lopez (Spain) beat Jean-Julien Rojer (Netherlands)/Horia Tecau (Romania) 6-4 6-4.
Order of Play
Starting at 3pm
Nick Kyrgios (Australia) v Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic)
Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) v Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus)
Not before 7pm
Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) v Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland)
Novak Djokovic (Serbia) v Feliciano Lopez (Spain)
Starting at 4pm
Simone Bolelli (Italy)/Andreas Seppi (Italy) v Jamie Murray (Great Britain)/Tommy Robredo (Spain)
Lukasz Kubot (Poland)/Marcin Matkowski (Poland) v Daniel Nestor (Canada)/ Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic)