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Novak Djokovic beats Mikhail Youzhny to win Dubai Open

Novak Djokovic poses with the Dubai Open trophy
Djokovic struggled initially on Sunday before retaking control

Novak Djokovic beat Mikhail Youzhny 7-5 5-7 6-3 to win the weather-hit Dubai Open and successfully defend an ATP title for the first time.

The match had been held over from Saturday because of heavy rain with Djokovic cruising at 7-5 2-0.

When they returned on Sunday he was broken twice as he lost the second set.

A break each saw the third set level at 3-3 and after Youzhny spurned a break point to go 4-3 up, Djokovic claimed the decisive break in the next game.

In addition to it being the first time in his career that Djokovic, the world number two, has successfully defended a title on the ATP tour, it is also his first title of the year.

Today was another good example of how much I believe in myself and how much I fight till the end

Novak Djokovic

"It means the whole world to me to defend this title," he said.

"Of course there are always people who are saying he can't do it, he can't do it.

"But I'm playing for myself, and this is another success in my career that I wasn't able to make in the last two years. But now, finally, I did it, and it's a big relief.

"Today was another good example of how much I believe in myself and how much I fight till the end."

When they returned to the court Youzhny first of all broke back to level at 4-4 in the second set and then, helped by two Djokovic double faults, he put himself into position to serve for the set.

606: DEBATE
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A frustrated Djokovic was warned for racquet abuse at the changeover but his display of temper appeared to help him refocus as he broke back in the following game to level at 5-5.

However, the Djokovic serve once again failed to function and he was broken to love on the back of three unforced errors.

This time Youzhny, who beat Djokovic in the Rotterdam semi-finals two weeks ago, made no mistake, holding his own serve to love to make it one set all.

Djokovic regained the initiative at the start of the deciding set, breaking Youzhny's serve with a big forehand down the line in the second game as he moved into a 3-0 lead.

But once again the Russian dug deep, breaking break back two games later to level at 3-3.

Youzhny had a break point to go 4-3 up, but blasted wide with a cross-court forehand when Djokovic looked to be out of the rally.

The Russian paid the price in the following game when two unforced errors gave Djokovic two break points.

He duly converted the second, when Youzhny hit a forehand long after an energy-sapping rally, before comfortably serving out to take the title.

In the United States, Latvia's Ernests Gulbis defeated second seed Ivo Karlovic 6-2 6-3 to win his first ATP title at the Delray Beach International.

"Everything I do now is first time for my country," said Gulbis. "It's good for tennis in Latvia. They see that a guy from Latvia also can make it and win an ATP World Tour event."



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see also
Youzhny to face Djokovic in Dubai
26 Feb 10 |  Tennis
Cilic joins casualties in Dubai
25 Feb 10 |  Tennis
Murray suffers shock Dubai defeat
24 Feb 10 |  Tennis
Injured Davydenko quits in Dubai
24 Feb 10 |  Tennis


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