Novak Djokovic, the defending champion of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, has been doing it the hard way all week as he again won another tight three set match against the scrappy Marcho Baghdatis 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.
In an almost three hour affair, both men pushed each other with groundstroke rallies highlighted by usual displays of humor from both men. At one point early in the second set, Baghdatis broke his shoe chasing after a Djokovic drop shot and had to rely one of his training team to throw him their own shoes so he could continue.
Like his match against Ivan Ljubicic, Djokovic finally got his game going midway in the second set and after getting an early break in the third set never looked back as his power and deft touch were too much for the Cypriot.
Djokovic will now take on Mikhail Youzhny who downed Austria’s Jurgen Melzer 7-5 7-6. It’s the second final in a row for Youzhny who lost to Robin Soderling in Rotterdam a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile in Acapulco, defending champion Venus Williams found herself in a big hole in the third set of her match against qualifier Laura Pous Tio of Spain. Williams went down 5-1 in the final set before finding her game with help from the crowd who urged her on to a 4-6,6-3,7-5 win. Afterwards, Williams spoke about how much the crowd support meant to her.
“I really have never had that kind of crowd support ever in my life… never anywhere. If I never experience that again, I can remember today.”