Dubai Championship: Jiri Vesely records straight-set win over Novak Djokovic
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday suffered a shock straight-set defeat at the hands of Jiri Vesely in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The Serb was beaten 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) by Vesely, who is ranked 123. Vesely now holds a 2-0 record against the 20-time Grand Slam champion. The 28-year-old Czech player will next take on Denis Shapovalov.
Why does this story matter?
- Dubai Championship was Djokovic's first ATP event in 2022 following his deportation from Australia last month.
- Following Thursday's results, Djokovic is set to lose his number one ranking in ATP to Russian star Daniil Medvedev on Monday.
- Medvedev will be the first World No. 1 other than the Big 4 (Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray) since February 1, 2004.
Key stats from the match
Both Djokovic and Vesely served nine aces. Djokovic made four double faults as compared to three by his younger opponent. The Serbian star won 74% points on the first serve and 52% points on the second serve. Vesely, meanwhile, won 69% points on first serve and 65% on the second serve. Vesely won three breakpoints. Overall, Vesely won 74 points while Djokovic managed 71.
Djokovic on his loss
"It wasn't my day," Djokovic told reporters. "I congratulate Jiri. He played better. He went for his shots. His serve was big. His whole game was big. I expected myself to play on a higher level. I can do better," he said. "The more matches I play, the more confident I will be, the more comfortable I'll be feeling on the court," he added.
When did Djokovic become World No. 1?
Djokovic had become World No. 1 on February 2, 2020, by displacing Spanish great Rafael Nadal from the numero uno position in ATP rankings. He has been World No. 1 for a record 361 weeks. Djokovic hasas won three Grand Slam titles (2021 Australia Open, 2021 Wimbledon, and 2021 Rolland Garros) and eight tour-level ATP titles since claiming the top-ranked stature.
Medvedev to become new World No. 1
Medvedev is set to replace Djokovic at the number one position. He won his first Grand Slam title by defeating Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final. He finished as runner-up in the 2022 Australian Open. Medvedev is currently playing in the Mexican Open. He will next take on Nadal in the semi-final on Saturday. He reached semis by defeating Yoshihito Nishioka in quarters.