World No. 1 Novak Djokovic continues his run at the 2022 Dubai Tennis Championships as the top seed passes the tricky test of Karen Khachanov in the second round to move into the quarter-finals of the tournament for the 12th time in as many appearances, keeping his record of reaching the quarter-finals every time intact.
The Serbian had defeated Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 in the first round on his season debut and followed it up with a 6-3, 7-6(2) win over Khachanov in the second round. The win keeps Djokovic in the race to somehow retain his ranking as World No. 1 which he is most likely to lose to current World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev who has also made his way to the quarter-finals in the 2022 Acapulco Open.
Djokovic however remains unbothered by the race for World No. 1 and is focused on winning the Dubai Championships only. Returning to action for the first time this season after a difficult time in Australia that saw him get big flak from media and other people, the Serbian is nothing but overjoyed to be able to play once again on the Tour.
“I think the atmosphere in the stadium tonight was great. The support was as much for Karen as it was for me, which is great for us as tennis players who travel around the world. That’s what we play for, that kind of atmosphere, that kind of passion from the people who come to see us, so I want to thank you with all my heart.
“Tennis is my life, my love. I had missed it all so much. That’s what I learned to do, what I’ve been doing for twenty years. I love to travel, play and hopefully bring positive emotions to people,” said Djokovic during his on-court interview after he defeated Khachanov to enter the last-8 in Dubai.
Novak Djokovic to take on Jiri Vesely
Djokovic will now be up against Jiri Vesely, one of the very few players to lead the Serbian in the head-to-head. The two players met for the first time in the 2nd round of the 2016 Monte Carlo Masters where the Czech player won the match in 3-sets to cause one of the biggest upsets as Djokovic was the defending champion at the tournament and it was Novak’s earliest exit in a Masters tournament having reached the finals of all Masters event since 2014 Shanghai Masters.
The 2nd round exit also meant it was Novak’s earliest exit from any tournament in over 3 years. The two players were set to play once again in the 2nd round of the 2016 US Open but Jiri had to give a walkover and continues to lead Novak 1-0 in their head-to-head battle.