Djokovic beats Berdych to win 4th Dubai Open
Mar 02, 2013 (Khaleej Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Novak Djokovic was crowned the king of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the fourth time in five years on Saturday night with a straight-sets victory over Tomas Berdych.
The 25-year-old Serb was broken by the Czech third seed in the fifth game of the first set to fall 4-2 behind, only to subsequently break Berdych's twice -- in the eighth and 12th respectively -- and win the first set 7-5.
By contrast, Djokovic only needed one break in the eighth game of the second to secure a 7-5, 6-3 result and move to within one more tournament triumph of Roger Federer's all-time record of five singles successes here.
"I didn't play as aggressively or maybe as well as I did in Friday's match or previous ones during this week," said Djokovic.
"I was playing from my back foot a bit and giving him too much time to control the points.
"But, I started believing in myself a little bit more when I came from a break down and I hung in there. I stayed tough and that's the important thing."
The opening exchanges went with serve until the fifth game, when Djokovic coughed up a break point chance for 30-40 and Berdych took it with relish thanks to a looping, cross-court forehand.
The subsequent fist pump to his nearest and dearest in the players' box left the abiding impression that the 27-year-old wasn't exactly daunted or overawed by the challenge of facing the world number one.
A hold each thereafter duly nudged Berdych to within two games of the first set at 4-3, but Djokovic elevated his renowned retrieval game at this point to pressurise the Berdych serve with a succession of break point opportunities. To his credit, Berdych stood up well to Djokovic's athleticism and durability in the rallies, although you sensed a crack in the armour eventually had to appear and so it did; Berdych dunking a comparatively easy forehand volley into the net for 4-4.
The Czech also wasted three break points in the ninth game, where the serving Djokovic took a nasty tumble well behind the baseline at one stage, as the reigning Australian Open champion held off an immediate riposte.
Service holds were then swapped swiftly between the two for Djokovic to lead 6-5 and leave Berdych serving to stay in the first set and ensure a tie-break.
Berdych's level of play slipped here nonetheless to hand Djokovic two set points at 15-40 and an inexplicable double fault gifted him it without a single swing of his racquet on the return. The first seven games of the second set went with serve as both players focused on their service games and looked for scant openings on their returns.
Such an opening eventually arrived in the eighth game and -- almost predictably -- it was the more mentally and physically resilient Djokovic who took it. With advantage on Berdych's serve, the Serb lofted up an overhead lob that Berdych blasted out to leave Djokovic serving for the trophy.
He had some late struggles in closing out his coronation, fending off another break point for Berdych before finally sealing it at the second attempt from advantage with a rasping inside-out forehand.
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