Novak Djokovic praised Tomas Machac after their match in Dubai, acknowledging that the Czech qualifier gave him «all sorts of problems». On Tuesday, Djokovic played his first match since winning the Australian Open as he defeated Machac 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(1) to reach the round of 16 in Dubai.
Djokovic, 35, and Machac, 22, were playing against each other for the first time. «Tomas certainly didn’t play like the world No. 130 today. He was giving me all kinds of trouble. But I guess when it mattered, I found another team.» Djokovic said after the match, according to the ATP website.
Furthermore, Djokovic noted that he did not play much tennis before going to Dubai. “Physically you can always be better. I demand the highest standards, levels and quality of tennis and preparation that I can get. I had problems with injuries for several weeks and it took me a bit of time to get used to holding the racket.
I haven’t played much tennis before coming to Dubai, so hopefully as the tournament progresses, I can also raise the level of tennis,» Djokovic explained.
How did Djokovic defeat Machac?
Djokovic broke Machac in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead, but the Czech broke the Serb in the fifth game to win back the break.
Missing a break early in the first set, however, did not affect Djokovic, who broke Machac again in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. In the remainder of the first set, Djokovic held serve to win the opening set. After losing the first set, Machac broke Djokovic in the second game of the second set and then held onto his serve for the remainder of the set to force a decider.
In the third set, Djokovic saved a break point in the first game before breaking Machac in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead. Down by a break, Machac didn’t give up as he broke Djokovic in the seventh game and managed to force a tiebreaker.
In the tiebreaker, Djokovic was absolutely dominant as the Serb escaped with a three-set victory to set up a round of 16 encounter against Tallon Griekspoor.