Novak Djokovic sensationally maintained his perfect record against Gael Monfils after surviving three match points in a second-set tie-break to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships final.

World number one Djokovic was 16-0 across all matches in 2020 and in his career against Monfils heading into Friday's meeting.

But the 17-time grand slam winner looked set to see his bid for a fifth Dubai championship end prematurely as Monfils led by a set and a break prior to a dramatic conclusion to the second.

Monfils had collected titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam across his own recent winning streak, yet his Djokovic hoodoo somehow continued.

"It was truly an escape," Djokovic said. "He [Monfils] was clearly a better player for two sets. I was fortunate to work my way back in the second set."

The Frenchman was on top early on and broke in just the third game of the opener, later extending his lead courtesy of the latest in a series of tame Djokovic drop shots.

Djokovic was then spectacularly broken to love in the second, only for Monfils' consistency to wane with the finish line in sight.

The top seed capitalised on the second of his first three break points and set about applying intense pressure to the Monfils serve, but two mammoth holds prompted a remarkable tie-break.

Monfils squandered three opportunities for victory as 10 of the first 11 points went against the serve, Djokovic eventually seizing his fourth set point of the breaker and ninth of the set with a double fault.

Showing visible signs of fatigue, Monfils was broken to love early in the decider and dropped serve again before calling for the trainer, with brief treatment to his left leg unable to arrest the slump as Djokovic clinched a 2-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-1 victory.

Djokovic will next go up against Stefanos Tsitsipas, who cruised through to the Dubai decider for a second year running.

The in-form Greek won the Open 13 Marseille title last week and made it eight straight victories with a comprehensive 6-2 6-3 result against Dan Evans.

Tsitsipas, who lost to Roger Federer in the 2019 final, now believes he can move up another level against Djokovic.

"I'm really impressed by the quality of my game today," he said of the Evans win. "I really hope to bring the same and possibly even better in the next round."

Rafael Nadal cruised into the Mexican Open semi-finals after the top seed outclassed Kwon Soon-woo in straight sets.

Nadal was in devastating form as the 19-time grand slam champion dismantled Kwon 6-2 6-1 at the ATP 500 tournament in Acapulco on Thursday.

After crushing Miomir Kecmanovic in the last 16, Nadal continued his ruthless path through the draw at the expense of the rising South Korean in one hour, 31 minutes.

Nadal – eyeing his third Acapulco title – hit 25 winners, 11 unforced errors and saved all eight break points he faced to set up a semi-final showdown with Grigor Dimitrov.

Bulgarian Dimitrov snapped a five-match losing streak against three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka by defeating the third seed 6-4 6-4.

Dimitrov – the 2014 Mexican Open champion – had not beaten Wawrinka since 2016 but the former world number three ended his drought in one hour, 25 minutes.

"I've played quite a few times against Stan and we've practised together so many times. Between us, it's mainly a mental battle," Dimitrov said. "I had lost the past five times against him, but those losses have inspired me. Those losses helped me. Even though it hurts saying it, I'm admitting it. I wanted to stand tall tonight."

John Isner – the fifth seed – booked his spot in the semis for the second successive year with a 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-2 win over fellow American Tommy Paul.

Isner fired down 22 aces to set up a clash against countryman Taylor Fritz, who topped Kyle Edmund 6-4 6-3.

At the Chile Open, in-form top seed Cristian Garin extended his winning streak en route to the quarter-finals in Santiago.

Garin – the Cordoba and Rio Open champion – celebrated his 10th consecutive victory by downing Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 0-6 7-6 (7-4) at the ATP 250 event.

Fellow seeds Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Thiago Monteiro also progressed but fifth seed Juan Ignacio Londero was upstaged by wildcard Thiago Seyboth Wild 7-6 (9-7) 6-4.

Kim Clijsters will play at Indian Wells after it was confirmed the former world number one has been given a wild card.

The four-time grand slam champion is on the comeback trail after reversing her 2012 retirement last year.

Clijsters, 36, earlier this month was beaten in straight sets by Garbine Muguruza at the Dubai Tennis Championships on her return to the court.

The Belgian is a two-time Indian Wells champion and is also set to play at Monterrey before heading to California.

It was also announced by tournament organisers on Thursday that both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been given wild cards to play doubles at Indian Wells.

World number one Djokovic is set to team up with Viktor Troicki after they were part of Serbia's ATP Cup-winning squad at the start of the year.

Nadal, second behind Djokovic in the singles rankings, will play with compatriot Marc Lopez, with whom he won gold at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Novak Djokovic made light work of Karen Khachanov as he cruised into the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championship with a 6-2 6-2 victory on Thursday.

World number one Djokovic only needed a cumulative two hours to see off Malek Jaziri and Philipp Kohlschreiber in his opening matches in the United Arab Emirates and seventh seed Khachanov was unable to provide much more resistance.

The 17-time grand slam champion racked up his 16th win of 2020 in one hour, six minutes to move two matches away from a fifth title in Dubai and ensure he will remain at the top of the rankings come Monday.

After saving a set point, Khachanov became the first player to engineer a break point against Djokovic in the tournament and it was converted when the top seed went long with a forehand.

Djokovic wrapped up the first set when Khachanov buried a backhand into the net and he went a break up in the second after a fine lob.

The world number 17 was unable to return a fierce forehand into the corner when facing match point and consequently exited the competition.

Asked in an on-court interview if he is playing some of the best tennis of his career, Djokovic said: "That's too big of a statement, but I'm definitely feeling well and playing well.

"Tough match for Karen, I think he can do much better than he did. It wasn't his day, but on my side I think I played a very solid match."

Stefanos Tsitsipas came from a set down to defeat Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6 6-4 6-4 and advance to the semi-finals.

The second seed, who won his first title of the year in Marseille last weekend, came from 40-0 down at 4-4 in the decider to break before closing out the victory on serve.

Tsitsipas will face Daniel Evans next after the world number 37 overcame Andrey Rublev 6-2 7-6 (11-9) to reach his first semi-final of the season and fourth of his career.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the Mexican Open quarter-finals in straight sets, while Alexander Zverev was a shock casualty.

Nadal – playing his first competitive tournament since the Australian Open – produced some highlight moments as he saw off Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2 7-5 in Acapulco on Wednesday.

A two-time winner of the ATP 500 event, world number two Nadal was a class above against his Serbian opponent to stay on course for the title.

After his powerful display, the 19-time grand slam champion will face Kwon Soon-woo for a spot in the semi-finals after the South African beat eighth seed Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-2) 6-0.

Australian Open semi-finalist Zverev was bundled out of the tournament by American qualifier Tommy Paul 6-3 6-4.

Zverev dropped his opening service game and it was a sign of things to come for the German star as Paul capitalised to eventually claim the biggest win of his career.

Next up for 22-year-old Paul is fifth seed John Isner, who downed fellow American Marcos Giron 6-3 7-6 (7-4).

Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points as he prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 6-2 7-6 (7-2) against Adrian Mannarino in a thriller.

Mannarino erased Dimitrov's 4-1 lead in the final set to earn a pair of match points but the Bulgarian rallied to set up a showdown with third seed Stan Wawrinka, who eased past Pedro Martinez 6-4 6-4.

Elsewhere, fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was surprised 6-4 6-4 by Kyle Edmund and Taylor Fritz topped Ugo Humbert 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Casper Ruud, Hugo Dellien and Federico Delbonis all moved through to the quarters but Pablo Cuevas fell to qualifier Renzo Olivo.

Novak Djokovic talked up the quality of the "powerful" Karen Khachanov after he and the Russian booked a quarter-final meeting at the Dubai Tennis Championship. 

After dominating his first-round encounter against Malek Jaziri in one hour, Djokovic won a similarly straightforward contest with Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-1 in just 59 minutes on Wednesday.

In the build-up, Djokovic had pointed to his loss against Kohlschreiber at Indian Wells last year on the previous occasion they had met on a hard court as evidence he was facing a big test.

But the Serbian triumphed without facing a break point, hitting 23 winners and just 10 unforced errors in improving his 2020 record to 15-0.

Khachanov, who has won one of his three meetings with Djokovic, moved through after seeing off Dennis Novak 6-3 6-4.

"I've had some interesting battles with him," Djokovic said of Khachanov. "He is a great guy, a very powerful player. 

"He is one of the guys who is a pretender to be top five, top 10. He is very dedicated, so hopefully I'll be as sharp as I have been in the past two matches and start well."

Djokovic felt he had barely put a foot wrong against Kohlschreiber, who at 36-years-old is now ranked at number 80.

"It was a great performance," said the Australian Open champion. "I enjoyed the way I played, coming out with the right focus and tactics. 

"Knowing Philipp beat me 12 months ago in Indian Wells, I needed to approach this match very seriously regardless of his ranking."

Second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas joined Djokovic in the quarter-finals at the ATP 500 event, beating Alexander Bublik – a player he also got the better of en route to Open 13 Marseille glory last week - 7-6 (7-1) 6-4.

Tsitsipas will now play Jan-Lennard Struff, who defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Andrey Rublev saw off Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 to book a clash with Dan Evans, who was on the brink of elimination but saved three match points in a thriller against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, eventually winning 7-5 3-6 7-6 (9-7).

Richard Gasquet eliminated fellow Frenchman and eighth seed Benoit Paire 6-4 6-4, while in-form Gael Monfils was a comfortable 6-1 6-2 winner over Yasutaka Uchiyama.

Novak Djokovic paid tribute to "inspirational" Maria Sharapova after the five-time grand slam champion retired from tennis on Wednesday.

Sharapova has struggled with injuries in recent years, while she also served a 15-month ban after testing positive for meldonium at the 2016 Australian Open.

The Russian, who was a major winner aged 17 at Wimbledon in 2004, wrote in Vogue and Vanity Fair: "I'm new to this, so please forgive me. Tennis — I'm saying goodbye."

And ATP Tour great Djokovic, speaking on court after his straight-sets defeat of Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Dubai Tennis Championships, prompted a round of applause in honour of Sharapova after learning of her retirement.

"I just heard the news right now, and I would like everyone to give her a big round of applause for everything she has done in her career," he said. "She deserves it definitely.

"She is a great fighter, as dedicated as someone can really be in our sport.

"The willpower and the willingness to overcome all the obstacles that she had - especially in the last five or six years with the injuries and surgeries, trying to come back to the court and play on her desired level - it's truly inspirational to see. She has the mind of a champion.

"I'm sorry that it had to end with an injury but, at the same time, she had a fantastic career. She can be proud of herself."

Djokovic's ATP rival Stefanos Tsitsipas - also victorious in Dubai on Wednesday - even suggested other players had been jealous of Sharapova.

"I come from a Russian background, so I kind of understand the way she approached tennis, the attitude and all of that," the Greek said. "I watched her play when I was young.

"I remember her winning the Wimbledon title, I don't know how old she was – 20, 17, unbelievable. She had a really good career, I can tell you.

"I think many people are jealous of the career she had. Obviously she was behind Serena, another great athlete, so I would say after Serena, she's probably the best.

"She had a really good career with great victories, great achievements in tennis. I think she added a lot to our sport."

Nick Kyrgios hit out at fans after being booed off court following his decision to retire against Ugo Humbert at the Mexican Open.

Kyrgios was the defending champion in Acapulco but lasted just one set - losing it 6-3 - before opting to quit due to a troublesome wrist injury.

The announcement did not go down well with fans who roundly jeered the Australian as he gathered his belongings and left the arena.

Kyrgios was unapologetic afterwards and felt he did not deserve the criticism that came his way.

Asked about the boos, he told reporters: "I couldn't give a f***. I literally couldn't give a f***.

"I'm not healthy. I tried to come here, I tried to play. I've been doing media for the tournament and helping out.

"I tried to play, I tried to give the fans a little bit of tennis and they're disrespectful.

"I honestly just really couldn't give a f***."

Kyrgios has had a solid start to 2020, helping Australia reach the semi-finals of the inaugural ATP Cup before going down in four sets to Rafael Nadal in the last 16 at the Australian Open.

He was forced to pull out of the Delray Beach Open last week due to the wrist problem, however.

"I've been dealing with a bit of a wrist injury, obviously, for the last couple of weeks," he added.

"After the Australian Open I took a week and a half off and then I started hitting again, I started feeling my wrist."

Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev moved through at the Mexican Open, while Nick Kyrgios was booed as his title defence came to an end.

A two-time champion of the event, top seed Nadal cruised past Spanish compatriot Pablo Andujar 6-3 6-2 on Tuesday.

In competitive action for the first time since the Australian Open, Nadal needed just 90 minutes to post his fourth victory in as many meetings with Andujar.

Zverev, the second seed at the ATP 500 tournament, survived an early battle before getting past Jason Jung 7-6 (8-6) 6-1.

Last year's runner-up, Zverev served 12 aces and broke four times in his victory.

Kyrgios beat Zverev in the final in 2019, but the Australian lasted just 31 minutes in the first round.

Ugo Humbert took the first set 6-3 when Kyrgios retired due to a wrist injury, the 24-year-old receiving some boos as he left the court.

Kyrgios was the only seed to fall as Felix Auger-Aliassime, John Isner, Grigor Dimitrov and Dusan Lajovic advanced at the hard-court tournament.

Taylor Fritz, Pedro Martinez and Kwon Soon-woo were also among the winners.

At the Chile Open in Santiago, seeds Juan Ignacio Londero, Federico Delbonis and Thiago Monteiro all got through their first-round matches.

Andy Murray revealed he may need another operation as his hip injury again threatens to end his career.

The British three-time grand slam champion last played at the 2019 Davis Cup Finals, where he suffered a pelvic injury.

Murray, 32, is now facing further surgery due to heterotopic ossification, which is bone growing outside the normal skeleton, a complication after the hip operation he underwent in January 2019.

"What I need to do is build up in these next couple of weeks to really test it. I will really test the hip out. Hopefully it responds fine, but if it doesn't then I need to potentially have that removed," he told UK media, via The Guardian.

"I can't have it removed until it is finished growing. I am now pretty much at 13 months since the operation last January, so I would hope in this period while I am building up and trying to basically test it out, I should know by the end of next month whether I'm good to play or not with it.

"If they can't get to it with an arthroscope, I would have to be opened up again. That takes longer to recover.

"It's not like a major operation to have it removed but, if they cannot get there with an arthroscope to remove it, that is the issue."

Surgery could see Murray miss Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, although the Scot is eager to continue playing.

"I do want to keep playing. Whether I'm able to or not is the question," he said.

Still, there is the possibility Murray will make his return next month at the Miami Open, which begins on March 25.

"I might be playing in the next few weeks – that's what I hope – but, over the last couple of years, I have become quite pessimistic about timeframes, issues and stuff because of what has gone on, and what has been said to me," he said.

"I don't want to say I will definitely be in Miami playing. There is also the possibility I might have to have something done. We'll just have to see."

Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised into the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a defeat of Pablo Carreno Busta and Benoit Paire gained revenge over Marin Cilic on Tuesday.

Tsitsipas claimed his first title of the season by retaining his Open 13 Marseille on Sunday and saw off Carreno Busta 7-6 (7-1) 6-1 two days later.

The second seed put the Spaniard under pressure with rasping returns and was broken just the once to set up a meeting with Alexander Bublik.

Paire saved four match points in a 2-6 7-5 7-6 (7-1) win over 2014 US Open champion Cilic and will face compatriot Richard Gasquet in round two.

Cilic knocked the Frenchman out of the Australian Open in the second round last month, but fell at the first hurdle in the United Arab Emirates.

Paire had lost five consecutive matches against the powerful Croatian, including a five-set battle at Melbourne Park, yet he fended off two match points in the second set and as many in third before bossing a decisive tie-break.

World number 37 Dan Evans claimed the scalp of fourth seed Fabio Fognini, winning 3-6 6-4 7-5 on day two of the tournament.

Fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut was another to suffer a surpise exit as he went down 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 to Jan-Lennard Struff.

Yasutaka Uchiyama, Filip Krajinovic, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nikoloz Basilashvili were also first-round winners.

 

Stan Wawrinka was forced into a huge battle before advancing in the Mexican Open first round on Monday.

Wawrinka, the third seed at the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, needed two hours, 45 minutes to edge Frances Tiafoe 6-3 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-1).

The Swiss three-time grand slam champion squandered four match points before battling through.

Wawrinka was the only seed in action on Monday, as two American qualifiers – Tommy Paul and Marcos Giron – progressed.

Adrian Mannarino overcame wildcard Cameron Norrie 2-6 6-3 6-3, Miomir Kecmanovic edged past Alex de Minaur 3-6 6-4 6-3 and Kyle Edmund hammered Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-1.

At the Chile Open, sixth seed Hugo Dellien got through the first round, while Roberto Carballes Baena and wildcards Thiago Seyboth Wild and Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera also won.

Novak Djokovic is wary of falling victim to an upset as he prepares to face Philipp Kohlschreiber at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

The world number one will meet Kohlschreiber in the last 16 after he eased to a 6-1 6-2 win over Malek Jaziri on Monday, while the German emerged triumphant from a three-set battle against Mohamed Safwat.

Djokovic fell to a shock 6-4 6-4 defeat to Kohlschreiber in Indian Wells last year on the last occasion the two players met on a hard court.

While he has won three meetings with the 36-year-old since then, twice on clay and in another on grass, Djokovic will be taking no chances.

"I am aware of what he is capable of," Djokovic said. 

"I lost to him in straight sets in Indian Wells last year. He actually likes playing top players on a big stage. 

"He has lots of experience. He's very fit. He keeps on playing even at that age on a high level.

"I certainly will not underestimate him, I will prepare myself."

Djokovic is playing in Dubai for the first time since 2016, when he retired due to an eye injury in a quarter-final meeting with Feliciano Lopez.

He is a four-time champion and also made the final in 2015, when Roger Federer defeated him.

"As I've said in the press conference prior to the tournament, I miss playing here," said Djokovic, who has a 14-0 record in 2020 following his ATP Cup and Australian Open triumphs.

"I really enjoy it. I enjoy night sessions and I'm feeling good on the court. 

"[The Jaziri match] was another testament to the way I feel. I have confidence, I am obviously striking the ball well. Hopefully that can continue in the next match."

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