Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic said Andy Murray's victory over Roger Federer was not only expected but a reflection of a greater belief by the players that the Swiss world number one was now vulnerable.
"Honestly, considering the results of this year, the style both players have and the speed of this court, I expected Murray to win," the third seeded Serb said on Tuesday after beating Croatia's Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3.
"I wasn't really too much surprised. I have to give him a lot of credit," Djokovic added.
"I don't think Roger likes it when he gets a lot of balls back, and obviously Murray has a great style, a great talent, he knows what to play in the moment.
"Obviously when the time is passing you learn more and more, especially if you play him, so I think after those results in the last couple of months more players are believing they can win against him."
Murray knocked defending champion Federer out of the Dubai Open first round on Monday.
Djokovic, who defeated Federer to reach the Australian Open final in Melbourne, enjoyed a match in Dubai that was competitive without being challenging.
A break for 3-2 decided the first set and Djokovic broke again for 2-1 in the second before breaking again in the final game to win on his third match point. (Reuters)
Djokovic says Federer is under threat from rivals