With all seeds exiting early (Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Gilles Simon, Marin Cilic), it was clearly an open draw for Nole’s first title defense in Dubai. Twelve months ago, he defeated Gilles Simon in this very stage. Yet, it was not an easy and smooth-sailing battle for Nole. Out of five matches, four of them were played in three sets.
Nole had a shaky start during the first round against G.Garcia-Lopez but escaped the scare and won in straight sets (6-4, 6-4). Nole’s good friend, Viktor Troicki, took the first set during the second round. Djokovic fought back and closed the match with a win (3-6, 6-4, 6-2).
Nole passed a rough test from Ivan Ljubicic during the quarterfinals (2-6, 6-4, 6-0). This score seemed to tell us there’s an oozing level of confidence and momentum in the third set and Nole bageled the Croat. The struggle continued into the semis as Nole took Marcos Baghdatis. The match lasted for two hours and fifty-five minutes and another triumph for the Serb (6-7, 6-3, 6-2).
“Playing almost three hours against somebody that keeps the ball in the court in the rally for a long time, it was very close. Every game was on the edge, I think. My serve wasn’t on the level that I wanted it to be. A lot of double faults, a lot of break points saved or lost. So that is something that I really don’t want to have anymore.” Djokovic said.
Nole was leading by a set and two games to love against Youzhny during the finals. Yet, the match was temporarily suspended due to heavy rain. Nole had a hard time getting back on track after the rain and loss the second set. Djokovic started to believe in himself during the third and was 3-0 up against the Russian. Rollercoaster ride for Nole as the game in same ground at 3-3. Nole held serve at 4-3 then on for another break. Another hold and yes, NOLE WON!
“This win means the whole world to me. Of course there are always people who are saying he can’t do it. This is another success in my career that I wasn’t able to make in the last two years. But now, finally, I did it, and it’s a big relief. So in the future I just hope I’ll make a couple more of those. It’s a big boost because I believe in myself. Even when I play bad, I know I have the abilities… Today was another good example of how much I believe in myself and how much I fight till the end.”