Under “normal” circumstances, the world number one Djokovic would miss this tournament to tune up for the ATP1000 s to come but such is the lack of tennis time. Seeing is his Grand Slam season could be over, these ATP500 tournaments could be crucial in keeping him in the top 10. Djokovic sets his sights on the Dubai title with his first round opponent being Lorenzo Musetti of Italy who is more of a clay court specialist. Well, Novak hasn’t lost his touch from the long lay off, that fierce defense was there for all to see. Check out 2-1 Djokovic 15-0 up on the Musetti racquet. Lorenzo showing his clay court skills where with a drop shot from an impossible angle but what Novak is good at is judging early where the shot is going. Despite a gutsy attempt at the hold, Musetti would lose his serve albeit narrowly after deuce. Lorenzo’s forehand cross court just wide. Musetti’s best point of the match was at 3-1 Djokovic first point. I like Lorenzo when he is at the net , assured and has confidence of a grass court specialist. The backhand down the line setting the tone for the point win. Novak didn’t exactly limit Lorenzo’s chances at breaking him. The Italian had 7 chances at breaking but he failed to convert one. So imagine if he had converted just two of them, the match would have been a whole lot closer.
Lorenzo was not as bad as the final score board suggests. He more than matched Novak on first serve at 65% and winning 65% of points on second serve. But his downfall was not exerting pressure attacking the first serve of the Serb which, let’s be honest isn’t the fastest in the world. Watch 1-1(40-0). Novak isn’t that charitable on the Lorenzo serve. The Italian in a three point hole, he more than held his own in the rally until a short forehand cross court which Novak gobbled up with a forehand of his own. Drop shot making 101. 4-2 Novak first point. Open the racquet up, let the ball hit the racquet rather than you hitting the ball so as to cushion the shot. Novak was ridiculously good on the forehand in the second set, hardly missing a winner. Even if he overcooks the shot it somehow drops in. It was one of those days for Musetti. Check out 5-3 Novak (15-30). How do you play that. That game saw Novak break for the last and decisive time to clinch the match 6-3. If I was a bookie I would stop taking bets on who wins the Dubai Title.