DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP):Novak Djokovic came from a breakdown in the first set to win his fourth Dubai Championships title in five years yesterday, downing third-seeded Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-3.
The top-ranked Djokovic extended his unbeaten streak this year to 13 matches, which included his third straight Australian Open title, and has now defeated Berdych in 13 of their last 14 meetings. It was his 36th career title.
"It was never going to be an easy final for either one of us," Djokovic said. "Tomas is a fantastic player. He has been around the tour and was a Grand Slam finalist (at Wimbledon). ... I'm just fortunate to go through."
In an early display of power tennis, the sixth-ranked Czech put Djokovic on the back foot with some blistering groundstrokes and a serve that approached 213 kph (132 mph). The Czech hit a crosscourt winner to break Djokovic and go up 3-2 in the first set and extended it to 4-2 with another crosscourt winner. But errors began creeping into the Czech's game and Djokovic took advantage.
The Serb broke to draw level when Berdych missed an easy volley winner and then saved three break points to make it 5-4. Djokovic then broke Berdych a second time to win the set when the Czech made three unforced errors and finished with a double fault.
"I had a break, but playing with the best returning guy on tour, it's just (an) advantage but not something really huge," Berdych said. "It was a quite good game, but it was not enough today. ... These guys (Djokovic and Federer), you can just basically go there, try your best and if it doesn't happen, all right. They are the first and second player in the world and possibly the best two for many, many years. That's how it is."