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04 October 2023

Rain halts Djokovic title push in Dubai

Serbia's Novak Djokovic, center, leaves the court after rain interrupts the final match with Russia's Mikhail Youzhny at the Dubai ATP Tennis Championship in Dubai. (AP)

By Reuters

Holder Novak Djokovic was leading Russian Mikhail Youzhny 7-5 2-0 on Saturday when a rainstorm ended their Dubai Championships final for the day.

Officials said play would resume at 1400 local time (1000 GMT) on Sunday.

The match was initially halted due to a sudden downpour, with the Serb 40-15 up in the opening game of the second set.

Play resumed 32 minutes later only for another deluge to stop the final again.

World number two Djokovic, bidding to land his 17th ATP crown and first of 2010, recovered to win from a set down in the previous three rounds and again started slowly as a long forehand put Youzhny a break up at 3-2.

The second seed broke back immediately and the next service game saw him hitting his chest in delight after Youzhny hit a cross-court forehand wide.

The crowd responded by chanting Djokovic's name but Dubai has a large Russian community and world number 15 Youzhny, runner-up in 2007, also had plenty of support in the 5,000-capacity Aviation Club stadium.

Djokovic broke again to serve for the set although successive points in the next game showed his unpredictability. The 2008 Australian Open winner slid to recover an apparent winner from seventh seed Youzhny and responded with an unstoppable shot past the advancing Russian.

Djokovic, however, then double-faulted as Youzhny levelled at 5-5.

The Serb broke serve again and clinched the set when Youzhny hit a cross-court forehand well wide.

The Russian lost his serve at the start of the second set when he hit a wild backhand wide.

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