World No. 1 Novak Djokovic moved into the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a hard-fought straight-sets 6-3, 7-5 win against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, setting up a blockbuster semifinal clash with former world no 1 Daniil Medvedev.
Djokovic, competing in his first tournament since lifting his record-extending 10th Australian Open trophy, is now 15-0 in the season, marking his fourth-best winning streak to start a season.
The Pole threw everything in his deep arsenal at Djokovic on the center court. From winning a point after hitting a tweener in the early moments of the match to putting pressure on the Serbian by moving forward, the Pole tried to take the 35-year-old out of his comfort zone.
But Djokovic dominated on serve – he did not face a break point – and chipped away to earn opportunities until he broke through. The top seed converted two of his eight opportunities to advance after one hour and 21 minutes and take a 5-0 lead in the pair’s ATP head-to-head series.
In the first round, the Serb needed a final-set tie-break to claw past Tomas Machac. Now Djokovic is two wins from capturing his sixth title in Dubai and his 94th tour-level crown overall. That would tie him with Ivan Lendl for the third-most titles in the Open Era.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion will be fully focused on the face-off with Medvedev, who ousted eighth seed Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2 in the last match of the day. The third seed won the last 21 points of the match to send a message to his next opponent.
The 27-year-old will be aiming to overcome a 4-9 ATP head-to-head deficit against the Serbian. Medvedev has won back-to-back titles in Rotterdam and Doha and is aiming for a third in Dubai. He is on a 12-match winning streak and has not dropped a set this week.