Novak Djokovic confessed he had to struggle for coming back from a set down to overpower Marton Fucsovics, the world number 36, at the Qatar Open. The world number one survived a huge fear to incidental victory 4-6,6-4, 6-1 and confessed his contender was “very close to the win”. Two -time Qatar Open Champion Djokovic said, “ For the first two sets he was the better player”. He added, “ He played really well, smart, changing up the rhythm and the pace of the ball and moving me around. I was kind of in a corner and I had to find my way and fight my way through.”

The match lasted exactly two hours, which was twice as long as the Serb spent on court in his first round of saunter against Damir Dzumhur, where he lost just three games. A backhand winner incidentally ensured victory for Djokovic but the result was in doubt for a long time, with the Serb only breaking Fucsovics in the tenth game of the second set to ensure the match went into a final set shootout. Djokovic added: “ I knew his qualities and especially in the slower conditions, so I did expect that it was going to be a match with a lot of rallies and very physical and that has proven to be the case.”

The number one seed will play fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals. The Georgian beat Andrey Rublev from Russia, the 2018 runner-up, 6-3,6-4, on Wednesday.

 

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