World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is living up to his billing as the top seed at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, as he breezed into the quarter-final stage of the tournament without so much as breaking a sweat. He will now Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan, whom he has never faced previously on the professional tour.
It took Djokovic barely over an hour of court time to secure his place in the quarter-final stage of the tournament. Up against Andrey Golubev, Djokovic hit 17 winners and faced no break points en route to a 6-1, 6-2 victory. It was his 11th match win of the season and extends the streak he began at the Australian Open this year.
“Having one match under my belt before today’s encounter helped me to feel a bit more comfortable to move around on the court quicker, and I tried to take away the time from my opponent today,” admitted Djokovic. “It was just a much better performance than yesterday. Hopefully I can improve as the tournament progresses.”
According to the ATP World Tour, Djokovic has held the No. 1 ranking spot for 135 weeks, six weeks shy of tying Nadal’s record of 141 weeks.
Turkish wildcard entrant Masel Ilhan overcame two-time runner-up Feliciano Lopez in three sets to find his way into the quarter-final stage of the ATP 500 level event in Dubai. He rallied from a set down to defeat the 2004 and 2008 finalist 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in 1 hour and 57 minutes.
This is set to be the first career meeting between Novak Djokovic and Ilhan. Once again, Djokovic will find his way into the final four with relative ease. He may come up against some early resistance from the Turk, given that he has never encountered him on the tour; however, it is unlikely to faze Djokovic en route to a Friday semi-final showing.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic in Straight Sets