Novak Djokovic continued his hot early season form yesterday after cruising past Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri 6-1, 6-2 to power into the second round of the Dubai Championships.
The top seed and four-time champion was playing here for the first time since 2016, and made short work of Jaziri, who is ranked 260 in the world.
Djokovic owns a perfect 14-0 record this season after winning a title for Serbia at the ATP Cup followed by a record-extending eighth Australian Open crown.
The world number one crashed seven aces past Jaziri in a match that lasted little more than an hour.
He reeled off the opening set in less than half an hour, broke twice in the second set and served out the win on his first match point.
He will face Philipp Kohlschreiber in the next round after the German veteran advanced past Egyptian Mohamed Safwat 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.
“I’m very pleased with how I played. I’ve not played (here since 2016), I’ve missed this court and the city,” said Djokovic.
“Philipp can deliver his best game in these kind of matches. He’s very capable, I’ll try to be ready.”
Earlier, Karen Khachanov earned a 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 win over Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin to reach the second round.
The world number 17, who lives in the emirate, twice hit back from a break down in the opening set before cruising through the second.
“The first round is pretty tough, I always try to get used to it,” said Russian Khachanov.
“I’m really happy I could get the win. I have another match, another opportunity to play better, like always, to improve.”
Khachanov’s compatriot Andrey Rublev, ranked 14 in the world, also moved into the second round following a 6-4, 6-4 win over Italian Lorenzo Musetti, while France’s Richard Gasquet beat South African qualifier Lloyd Harris 7-6 (7/5), 6-4.
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