Playing his first match since winning the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic beat Tommy Robredo of Spain 6-1, 6-2 in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Monday. Djokovic’s victory brought him one match away from his 700th career singles win.
“Every milestone is very special, of course,” Djokovic said. “I wish that I make the 700th win in this tournament, obviously.”
Djokovic, a four-time champion in Dubai, took three weeks off after beating Andy Murray in the Australian Open final for his 11th Grand Slam title. Against Robredo, he didn’t face a break point.
“I didn’t know how I’m going to start, whether or not I’m going to execute the game plan as I prepared,” Djokovic said. “But everything went well.”
His next opponent will be Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri, who won his first match of the year, beating Russian qualifier Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-1.
Sixth-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain won his 400th career match, beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Lopez, the oldest player in the draw at 34, is playing in Dubai for the 10th time. He reached the final in 2004 and 2008.
“I’m very happy, first of all, because 400 wins is a good number,” Lopez said. “It’s been a long time since I started playing tennis, and I’m very happy I have been able to achieve this number. It means that I was also very lucky in terms of I didn’t have injuries during my career.”
Also, fifth-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia was the first seed to fall in losing to Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 7-6 (2), 6-2. Baghdatis holds a 4-1 career edge over Troicki.