As he clocks down to 1250, Novak Djokovic gets closer to Rafael Nadal.

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During his match in Dubai’s opening round, Novak Djokovic crossed off a few milestones. After holding the top spot for a record 378 weeks, Djokovic engaged in his first match. To remain unbeaten in 2023, Novak defeated Tomas Machac 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and 27 minutes for his 13th victory of the year.

In addition to playing his 1250th ATP match since 2004, Novak won his 300th tie break of his career. Djokovic joined Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal as the players with that many ATP meetings. In the coming year, if Novak keeps healthy, he should overtake Rafa, who is 38 ATP matches ahead of him.

Djokovic, who has a 1044–206 record in the Open era, outperforms Nadal and hopes to keep his position atop the leaderboard. Against Tomas, Novak had to put up a fight, throwing away the lead in the final set and maintaining composure in the tie break to avoid falling down right away.

Till the very end, Machac fought valiantly and maintained the lead till Djokovic won it. In the fourth game of the match, Novak took the lead with a break before losing it shortly after. But in game six, the Serb struck again, giving him a 4-2 advantage.

Novak managed to hold on in game nine to win 6-3, looking for more in set two. In the second set, Tomas got off to a great start and forced a backhand error from Novak in the opening game to take a 2-0 lead. After a confident hold, the Czech Republic went up 3-0 and increased its chances of breaking the tie in game four.

In the opening round of the Dubai tournament, Novak Djokovic played his 1250th ATP match.

To stay within one break of winning, Novak saved two break points, and both of them played brilliantly in the following four games. After Novak’s errant forehand, Tomas served for the set at 5-3 and saved a break chance with a backhand winner down the line to end the match.

In the opening game of the final set, Djokovic fought off a break point and gained momentum, but he soon ran into additional difficulties. After the opening game, Machac requested a medical timeout for his right hand. His backhand landed long, resulting in a break at love at 1-2.

In the following one, the Serb delivered a comfortable hold for 4-1 and advanced toward the finish line. In game seven, Djokovic faced the second after saving a break point and missing a forehand. To make a break and put his opponent back on the winning side, Novak hit a backhand long.

After a deuce in game eight, Machac held on to win three games in a row and tie the match at 4-4. In game nine, Djokovic sent the strain to the opposing team by easily winning at the net to put an end to his collapse. With a forehand winner on the return in game eleven, Novak increased his lead to 30-15 before Tomas won the following point with a serve and volley combination.

A strong serve from the Czech player brought the score to 5-5 and added to the suspense. In games 11 and 12, both players did a good job of introducing a tie break. For a 4-1 score, Novak forced the opponent’s error in the fourth point.

He earned five match points with a return winner at 5-1 and converted the first one with a forehand winner to go to the next round.