After saving match points to reach the final, top-ranked Novak Djokovic was scarcely troubled as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 Saturday to win the Dubai Championships for the fifth time.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion maintained his unbeaten start to the year, having won the inaugural ATP Cup with Serbia and clinching a record-extending eighth Australian Open title.
Djokovic’s 79th career title moves him five behind Rafael Nadal, who was playing in the Mexican Open final in Acapulco against American Taylor Fritz.
But Djokovic almost went out on Friday. He was pushed hard by Gaël Monfils in the semifinals, saving three match points before improving to 17-0 against the hard-hitting but inconsistent French veteran.
This time, Djokovic was mostly in control.
Although he dropped his serve once, he converted all three break points against the 21-year-old Greek to move 3-2 ahead in their career meetings.
“I’m trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am,” the 32-year-old Djokovic said. “This has been one of the best starts of all the seasons I had in my career. I feel great on the court. I’ve been playing great tennis on the hard courts. That is my most successful and preferred surface.”
Only 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, who is recovering from a knee operation, has beaten Djokovic in the Dubai final — in 2015.