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2 March 2013 DUBAI UAE Top seed and world number one Novak Djokovic defeated Tomas Berdych 7-5 6-3 to win his fourth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title in five years.
With Petra Kvitova winning the women’s title, Berdych was bidding to make the Czech Republic the first country to provide both winners since Amelie Mauresmo and Fabrice Santoro won in 2002.
The match was a tightly-contested affair from beginning to end, with Djokovic unsure of victory until he clinched his 36th career title with his second match point.
Berdych gained the first advantage, breaking to lead 3-2 with a spectacular crosscourt winner, and although Djokovic broke back to level at 4-4 he then had to fight off three break points to hold for a 5-4 lead.
The set ended with Djokovic breaking again when Berdych double-faulted on break point.
The second set was equally close, with the only break coming at 4-3 when Berdych put a smash wide. Even then, Djokovic has to survive a break point with an ace as he served out the match.
“My serving today was great, very high percentage of first serves, over 200Ks,” said the 2013 champion. “I really felt that I could rely on my serve. And in tough moments, that part of my game actually helped me to prevail. I hung in there and stayed tough. This is the important thing.
“I felt when I came from break down that I started believing in myself a little bit more. He basically gave me that break on 43 when he missed an easy volley, but still, I fight and I believed I can come back.
“That’s I think something that can eventually decide the winner in these kind of matches in this kind of level, just hanging in there and waiting for your chance and then going for it.”
Berdych said although he earned the first break he was very far from victory.
“I was able to play the rallies with him quite well, especially from the baseline, and try to hold him under the pressure. He also make a couple of mistakes. So, yeah, I mean, the beginning was really good.
“But it’s been very, very far, you know. I would say, couple of chances that I had a break, but playing with the best returning guy on tour, it’s just an advantage but not something really huge, you know. It was a quite good game, but it was not enough today.”
Both players support the tournament being upgraded from an ATP 500 series to the highest 1000 level.
“I was actually talking with Tomas on court about it,” Djokovic said. “I don’t know a single player who has played here and has a negative feeling about the tournament. On the contrary, everybody wishes that this tournament is played for a bit longer time, also, like we have Indian Wells and Miami, and I think that this tournament deserves.”
Berdych added, “That’s definitely the way that this place should try to be and try to do it. I mean, they don’t have to be afraid of actually anything because they have everything to accommodate, to make the hospitality on that level and for the players, people around, everybody.
“It would be very interesting to see. I have to tell you that it could be really easily competing for the best 1000 tournament in the world, as well. Yeah, they have a pretty good chance.”
In the doubles final, Mahesh Bhupathi and Michael Llodra beat Robert Lindstedt and Nenad Zimonjic 7-6(8-6) 7-6(8-6). It was the first time the pair had played together, and it was Bhupathi’s fifth win in Dubai with each title coming with a different partner.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.