DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS 2013
Djokovic Extends 17-Match Winning Streak; Advances To Fourth Dubai Final
by James Buddell|
The World No. 1 raised his game to beat fourth seed Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6(4) for a place in his 55th tour-level final (35-19 record). Djokovic’s last loss came to Sam Querrey at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris on 31 October 2012.
“I was very pleased with the performance overall and the way I handled myself in the tough moments," said Djokovic. "Mentally I stayed tough and believed that I could go all the way and win in straight sets. didn't really allow myself to be negative. I have been very, very positive and confident, so I think that resulted with overall a really good performance."
Watch Djokovic's hot shot
Djokovic lost five of his service points in the 36-minute opener, producing several backhand winners that nullified del Potro’s power from the baseline.
The second set was a different story. Del Potro regrouped, starting to pick Djokovic’s serve and strike his backhand with great fluency to take a 3-0 lead. But Djokovic tightened up his game and bided his time until del Potro’s error count increased.
Djokovic won five games in a row to silence pockets of Argentine support in the 5,000-seater stadium, but once again del Potro responded to win three straight games and take a 6-5 lead.
In the tie-break tension and the quality of play was high, but Djokovic did enough to record his 27th win in 30 matches at the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament. The match lasted one hour and 45 minutes.
“It’s becoming a tradition in this tournament to drop a serve when I'm serving for a match,” said Djokovic. “Hopefully it's not going to happen another time tomorrow.”
Djokovic will play third seed Tomas Berdych in Saturday’s final.
“He deserved to win,” said del Potro. “He played so well in the tie-break. I was break up in the second set and I made mistakes.”
For the first time in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 21-year history the top four seeds featured in the semi-finals.