Djokovic into Dubai quarters; Rublev advances

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Top-ranked Novak Djokovic eased into the quarterfinals at the Dubai Championships by beating Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 6-3 on Wednesday.

Djokovic extended his winning streak to 19 matches in tidy fashion a day after being pushed to a third-set tiebreaker by 130th-ranked Tomas Machac.

The 35-year-old Serb broke the 39th-ranked Griekspoor four times to remain unbeaten this season. It was Djokovic’s second match since winning his 10th Australian Open title.

The five-time Dubai champion had taken a few weeks off after overcoming a hamstring problem in Australia to win his record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam singles title.

Djokovic will next face either Hubert Hurkacz or qualifier Pavel Kotov for a spot in the semifinals.

Also Wednesday, defending champion Andrey Rublev produced a 1-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) comeback win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The Russian saved five match points in the second-set tiebreaker. He won seven straight points after going down 1-6.

“In my head … the match was done,” Rublev said at a news conference.

It’s the third time this season he has saved match points en route to victory.

“I have no words. These matches, when it’s over and somehow you win them it’s always special,” he said.

Davidovich Fokina fell behind 1-6 in the third-set tiebreaker and saved two match points before Rublev finished him off on the third try.

The second-seeded Rublev will play Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarterfinals.

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