Tennis: Djokovic joins Murry in Dubai tournament
There was no surprise. Novak Djokovic was talented enough to join Andy Murry with a triumph into the quarter-finals of the Barclays Championships on Wednesday as he overcame determined Czech Jan Hernych 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
But we must mention that the challenger, who won just four games on the ATP last season, gave the top seed a fight before Djokovic pulled through.
'We must admit that he put up a great fight and had nothing to lose. You can't always perform at your most amazing but it's important to stay focussed. I was able to do that tonight,' stated the winner.
Indeed, confident Andy Murray used his growing body of experience to most amazing advantage, improving his serve to win his first gameover Arnaud Clement 6-2, 6-3.
The Scots second seed came great over the veteran to set up a clash with a second Frenchman Thursday in Richard Gasquet.
'I dictated the gamewith my serve and didn't give him many opportunitys after my first couple of service games,' stated Murray. 'I obviously managed to get into a lot of his service games and put a bit of pressure on him,
'I'm sure that nobody plays their most amazing every single match,' stated the winner of two titles in 2009. 'The only important thing is that you win. Tonight, I adjusted well, and I hope I do the same tomorrow.'
Murray stated he is still having trouble with his injured ankle but playing with strapping is preventing further problems.
'It's still sore, it just changes where it hurts from day to day. Sometimes it's on the serve, and sometimes it's moving to my forehand.
'Sometimes it hurts more at the moment I'm walking rather than running.'
Number 3 Frenchman Gilles Simon beat Teimuraz Gabashvili of Russia 6-1, 6-2.
Let's recall that Spain's number 4 Ferrer ousted German Philip Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6- 2 while Croatian fifth seed Marin Cilic beat Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
And Russian Igor Andreev, number 6, overcame compatriot Dmitry Tursunov 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Israeli Andy Ram was bundled out in his opening doubles match, leaving organisers to stand down on intense, airport style security erected around the controversial Israeli.
The fourth-seeded Ram and Kevin Ullyett, losing finalists at the weekend in Marseille, were beaten by Marat Safin and David Ferrer 6- 3, 3-6, 10-8 in the first round.
An impressive security presence surrounded the Ram doubles contest, with spectators required to pass thorough metal detectors and no electronics or bottles of water allowed in the sparsely populated stands.
'I really enjoyed my stay in Dubai,' stated the 28-year-old Ram who was allowed in on a special dispensation visa by the UAE government. 'Coming to the court with a couple of bodyguards was a nice experience.
'During the warmup I was just thinking tactics.'
It was quite funny to see the security measures for the Aviation team. A little bit too much for a regular ATP player.
We must consider that the men's ATP tournament follows last week's drama-filled WTA event, where Israeli Shahar Peer was denied a visa by the UAE. Ram was let in as a special concession as outrage flared among Jewish and other groups around the globe.