Djokovic Books Final Berth In Dubai
by Press Release|
Top seed comes through tough test against Simon
Novak Djokovic held off a strong challenge from third seeded Frenchman Gilles Simon on Friday to reach the final of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships.
It took top-seeded Djokovic two hours 44-minutes to edge through 3-6 7-5 7-5, with the outcome remaining in the balance until the final ball.
Neither player was able to strike top form as they toiled away in the heat, but the closeness of the contest more than made up with the errors that both players produced.
Only one break of serve decided the first two sets, with Simon breaking to lead 4-2 in the first set when his Serbian opponent made a forehand error, and Djokovic leveling the match at one set each when he broke at 6-5 in the second.
Watch highlights of Friday's semi-final matches at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships
In a tense final set, Simon dropped just two points in the first two games as he took a 2-0 lead, but Djokovic fought back to level at 3-3 when Simon made a backhand error.
Then, with the match seemingly heading for a tiebreak, Djokovic broke for the match with a smash at the net after Simon had set up match point by netting a low volley.
“I think I fought my way through in the match, really believed till the end, and mentally this is a very important win for me,” said Djokovic. “If I want to stay on top of the men's game, I have to win these matches, because Simon is certainly one of the best players in the world.
“Look, in general, you know, we can't always perform 100 percent. But I don't think we played a bad match. Yesterday, I played better, I think in general, but it's two different encounters.”
Simon was bitterly disappointed at the result, the second time in succession he has lost to Djokovic 7-5 in the third set. The last time was in the semi-finals of the Tennis Masters Cup in November.
“I was one set up and playing far better than him, because he made so many mistakes from the baseline. In the first and the second set, I had so many chances to break, and I didn't do it. So that's why finally I lose this match,” said Simon.
“I played good in the first set, but finally, then I felt that I had the opportunities to have the break in the second set, and I didn't manage to do it. Finally I played slower and slower and slower, so finally he had the chance to play better every time, and that's why he played his best tennis at the end of the match, even if he's exhausted.”
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