Djokovic continues hot streak with opening win in Dubai

DUBAI (Reuters) - World number one Novak Djokovic extended his unbeaten start to the season with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Tunisian Malek Jaziri in the opening round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday.

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Djokovic, who helped Serbia to victory in the ATP Cup before lifting his eighth Australian Open title last month, struck 22 winners and did not face a break point against wildcard Jaziri in a near-faultless display.

“It’s a great way to start out the tournament,” Djokovic, who is playing in Dubai for the first time since 2016, said.

“I miss playing here. I really enjoy it. I enjoy night sessions... I think I’ve done everything as well as I imagined it to be for the first match.

“Of course, there’s things that always can be improved, things that can be better. But I have to be satisfied with the performance.”

Djokovic is chasing his fifth title in Dubai and his first since 2013.

The 32-year-old Serb will next face Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, who overcame Egypt’s Mohamed Safwat 4-6 6-4 6-0.

“I lost to him (Kohlschreiber) in straight sets in Indian Wells last year. I am aware of what he’s capable of,” said Djokovic.

“He likes actually playing top players on a big stage. He has lots of experience. I certainly will not underestimate him.”

Seventh seed Karen Khachanov recovered from a break down on two occasions in the opening set before cruising to a 7-6(2) 6-1 victory over Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin.

The 23-year-old Russian dropped just one point on his first serve in the second set to improve his win-loss record to 8-5 this season.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru