Novak Djokovic stays perfect in 2013, bags fourth Dubai title
Dubai, United Arab Emirates (4E Sports) – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic kept his perfect 2013 and his mastery over Tomas Berdych rolling, beating the Czech netter, 7-5, 6-3, Saturday to capture his fourth title in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Djokovic needed just over 90 minutes to defeat Berdych for the 13th straight time in their 14 meetings, including 12 on hard-courts, in front of 5,000 spectators at the Dubai Tennis Center.
With the victory, Djokovic extended his winning streak to 18 matches, dating back to last year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and the Australian Open in January.
Djokovic tasted his last loss on October 31, 2012 when he was defeated by Sam Querrey in the second round of the BNP Paribas Masters.
Djokovic, who also lifted the Dubai trophy in 2009 to 2011, earned $429,600 in prize money and 500 ATP Rankings points. Berdych received $193,700 and 300 points.
“I really felt that I could rely on my serve. And in tough moments, that part of my game actually helped me to prevail,” Djokovic said after the win.
Berdych was eyeing to beat the top two players in the world for the first time in his career, after defeating No. 2 Roger Federer in the semifinal. He was also the first Czech play to reach the Dubai final since Jiri Novak in 2003.
Berdych broke Djokovic’s serve in the fifth game, passing the Serbian with a superb crosscourt forehand winner.
However, the Czech’s advantage was short-lived as he struck a routine forehand volley into the net on break point at 4-3 and failed to convert three break point opportunities in the next game. Berdych’s double-fault ended the first set in 51 minutes.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Karolina Pliskova advanced to the final of the BMW Malaysian Open with a 6-0-6-2 victory over fourth seed Ayumi Morita Saturday.
Pliskova needed just 17 minutes to take the opening set. Morita put two points on the scoreboard midway through the second but Pliskova broke her once more to finish the match.
“It’s a good feeling for me, but I am already now looking towards the final,” said Pliskova, who has yet to drop a set this week. “I played Ayumi a few years ago and I lost, but I played well. This time I played very well again and, although I’m happy, I’m a little surprised it was that easy”.
Pliskova will face wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who reached her fourth WTA final with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
In their only encounter last year in Linz, Mattek-Sands emerged as winner in straight sets.