Updated 28/2/2023 22:09
Twenty-two year old Czech Tomáš Macháč lost 3:6, 6:3 and 6:7 to Novak Djokovic in the first round of the tournament in Dubai after a furious battle. He fought the world number one for two and a half hours.
Macháč secured his participation in the main draw of qualifying, while Djokovic entered his first duel since his Australian Open victory in January. And after the first set, it looked like a clear development for the thirty-five-year-old Serb.
But the young Czech, who is ranked 130th in the rankings, is improving and an even match for the winner of a record 22 Grand Slams. Macháč equalized and erased a 1:4 loss in the decider.
But the tie-break already belonged to the five-time winner from Dubai, who won the shorthanded match 7:1. Despite this, Macháč was escorted off the pitch to applause not only by the crowd in the stands, but also by Djokovic.
“He definitely doesn’t play like the 130th player in the world, he deserves a standing ovation,” the Serb said in a television interview. “He gave me all kinds of problems but I managed to shift gears further and I got over it,” added Djokovic, who will face Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in the second round.
Macháč came close to ending Djokovic’s winning streak, but the Serbian star was also successful in his eighteenth straight match. After the fight with the Czech, he received a prize from the organizers, reminding him of his record of 378 weeks at the top of the world rankings. On Monday, she beat Germany’s Steffi Graf.
“When I was a kid growing up in Serbia, I dreamed of two things: to win Wimbledon and to become world number one. And I was blessed because both of my childhood dreams came true,” he says.
Dubai Men’s Tennis Tournament (hard courts, $3,020,535 donation):
Singles – first half: Djokovic (1-Serbia) – Machac (Czech Republic) 6:3, 3:6, 7:6 (7:1), Medvedev (3-Rus.) – Arnaldi (It.) 6:4, 6:2, Bublik (Kaz.) – Lazarov ( Bulg .) 6:1, 1:0 gorse, Hurkacz (5-Pol.) – Shevchenko (Russia) 3:6, 6:3, 7:6 (9:7), Auger-Aliassime (4-Can. ) – Cressy (USA) 7:6 (7:4), 3:6, 6:3, Van de Zandschulp (Netherlands) – Khachanov (6-Russia) 7:5, 6:2, Čoric (8-Croatia . ) – Evans (England) 2:2 scratch, O’Connell (Aust.) – Ruusuvuori (Fin.) 7:5, 6:4, M. Ymer (Sweden) – Passaro (It.) 6:2 , 6:3 .
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