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ATP Tour: Novak Djokovic’s winning start to 2023 ended in semi-final loss to Daniil Medvedev in Dubai


World number one Novak Djokovic saw his undefeated start to 2023 end in a semi-final loss to Daniil Medvedev at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Djokovic opened the year by winning the Adelaide international event ahead of the Australian Open, where he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas to claim a record 22nd Grand Slam title, the Serb holding a 15-0 record in 2023 before his confrontation with Medvedev.

In a contest where players put their early-season winning streaks on the line, Medvedev – who had won his previous 12 games – drew blood as he twice smashed an error-prone Djokovic and closed the first set. with a searing forehand.

Djokovic, playing in his first tournament since winning Melbourne, looked the better player after falling 2-5 in the first set, but dropped his serve again early in the second after hitting a long return.

Daniil Medvedev is now on a 13-game winning streak

Medvedev then cruised to a 6-4 6-4 victory in an hour and 55 minutes, with his straight-set success his 13th consecutive victory and his fifth win over Djokovic in 14 encounters.

Rublev earns Zverev’s first win to reach Dubai final

Medvedev will now face defending champion Andrey Rublev, who advanced to the final earlier today after beating Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

Andrey Rublev celebrates after defeating Germany's Alexander Zverev in their semifinal match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Andrey Rublev is looking to win the tournament for the second straight year

Rublev, who saved five match points earlier this week against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, hadn’t won a single set in his previous five encounters against Zverev.

A striking performance in Dubai saw Rublev turn the tide, saving a set point in the second set to triumph 6-3 7-6 (11-9) on sixth match point and after one hour and 58 minutes.

“Today when I walked onto the court I thought I had nothing to lose,” Rublev said. “He always beats me!

Rublev, who beat Jiri Vesely in last year’s final, is looking to join Roger Federer and Djokovic as the only players to successfully defend the Dubai title.

Sky Sports

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