DUBAI - Novak Djokovic admitted to feeling fortunate to get past Serbian countryman Viktor Troicki 3-6 6-4 6-2 in the opening match of his Dubai Championships title defence yesterday.
Djokovic, who had a bye in the first round, felt the heat from Troicki and the 34°C temperatures until midway through the second set when the growing shade across the court helped to slow down the balls to Djokovic's liking. Up a set and 3-3 in the second, Troicki missed game point and Djokovic took over, winning in two hours and six minutes.
"I wasn't happy with the performance overall. But I won, that's what matters," he said.
"He was a better player for a set-and-a-half."
Fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko retired with a wrist injury after losing the first set 3-6 to Michael Berrer of Germany. - Sapa-AP