Dubai: Defending champion Novak Djokovic moved his game by a notch to ease past Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-3 and into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open here late on Wednesday.
Winner of the title in Dubai on four previous occasions, Djokovic looked much sharper as he polished off the Spanish 25-year-old in under an hour.
The defending champion breezed through the first set with breaks in the second and fourth for a 5-0 cushion. Agut held for the first time in the sixth, but Djokovic just served out the set in 23 minutes.
In the second set things were initially quite close till Djokovic broke for the first time in the fifth for 3-2 lead. The Serb then held and broke a second time for 5-2, only to see his Spanish break back to trail 3-5 and then hold to edge closer 4-5.
But that was the closest Agut got to the top seed as Djokovic maintained his focus and registered one final break to take the match in just 57 minutes and make his way into the last eight.
“I think it was great going for me from start to end and this is a very positive sign for me as the tournament progresses. I am elevating my game at the right time,” Djokovic said.
The top seed, who is currently the World No.2, has been working with his new coach Boris Becker with the hope of improving his game at the net. “My game is basically groundstrokes, but now I have been coming to the net more often as I have been working with my coaches [Becker and Marian Vajda],” he added.
Djokovic will now meet Mikhail Youzhny in the quarter-finals at 7 pm on Thursday with the winner earning the right to possibly face five-time champion Roger Federer in the semi-final, provided the Swiss ace can get the better of Lukas Rosol.
“Youzhny has been around for some time now and he keeps getting better and better as the years roll by. It will be a tough quarter-final tomorrow,” Djokovic predicted.
Philipp Kohlscreiber vs Malek Jaziri
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Tomas Berdych
Novak Djokovic vs Mikhail Youzhny
Roger Federer vs Lukas Rosol