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Djokovic Dismisses Troicki; Llodra Ousts Tsonga

Dubai, UAE

Djokovic© Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsNovak Djokovic improved to a 9-0 match record on the season.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic returned to action in fine form on Tuesday evening, reaching the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over fellow Serb Viktor Troicki.

Djokovic was playing his first match since appearing alongside Troicki in Davis Cup action at the start of the month. He improved to a 9-0 record on the season, having retained his Australian Open title in January (d. Murray).

In recording his 13th win in 14 meetings with Troicki, Djokovic converted four of his nine break points and won 82 per cent of points behind his first serve. The Belgrade native is bidding to win this ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament for the fourth time, following three successive victories in 2009-2011. 

“That was a great match, especially in the first set, considering the fact I haven't played an official tournament for three, four weeks,” said Djokovic. “I wanted to be extra focused on the court today, because I also knew he has a big serve, as he had proven tonight, and can be very dangerous on these courts. This is one of the fastest hard courts on the tour that I have experienced outdoors. So you need to be really committed to every point and play well.”

Two days after lifting his 10th ATP World Tour title at the Open 13 in Marseille, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga crashed out in the first round in Dubai. The fifth-seeded Frenchman was beaten by countryman Michael Llodra 7-6(3), 6-2 in 80 minutes.

“I was in France yesterday. I just arrived. It was tough to have a good reaction,” said Tsonga. “I cannot play properly with Michael because he's playing everything in two, three shots. So you don't have time really to get a good rhythm. When you're not so good physically, it's tough to have a very good precision and to react really fast.”

Llodra fought back from a break down in the first set to overturn a 0-6 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Tsonga. The 32 year old broke serve three times from four opportunities and won 70 per cent of his service points. He improved to a 6-3 record on the season, highlighted by reaching the Open Sud de France semi-finals in Montpellier (l. to Paire).

"It's special to beat him. It's nice," said Llodra. "Sometimes you have to go different in your mindset, and today I tried this and it worked. So it's good."

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