Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have been players to beat on hard court in the previous two decades. Two great rivals have dominated the hard-court ATP 500 events since the rebranding of the series in 2009. Federer claimed 13 titles, and Djokovic matched the record in Dubai 2020.
Novak made a perfect start to the season, claiming the ATP Cup for Serbia and conquering the Australian Open. The Serb took the ATP throne from Rafael Nadal and took a few weeks off ahead of Dubai. Djokovic was the favorite to lift his first title in the desert since 2013, making a great start and sailing into the semi-final.
The Serb dominated in the opening three matches against Malek Jaziri, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Karen Khachanov. He dropped 11 games in six sets and spent just over three hours on the court, saving energy for the clash against an in-form Frenchman, Gael Monfils.
As it turned out, Djokovic had to dig deep to prevail, losing steam for a set and a half before making a comeback.
Novak Djokovic claimed his 13th hard-court ATP 500 title in Dubai 2020.
Novak fended off three match points in the second set’s tie break and brought the victory home in the decider to set the final clash versus Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The young Greek lost to Roger Federer in the title match 12 months ago and faced another legend. Stefanos could not make an extra step and clinch the trophy after Novak earned a 6-3, 6-4 triumph for his fifth Dubai Open title.
Also, it was Djokovic’s 13th hard-court ATP 500 crown since 2009, when the ATP 500 series replaced the ATP International Series Gold. Novak topped Stefanos in an hour and 17 minutes to celebrate his 79th ATP title. Djokovic lost serve once and grabbed three return games from as many chances to emerge at the top.
Novak made a strong start to the hard-court ATP 500 campaign in 2009, conquering Dubai, Beijing and Basel to gain an advantage over the Swiss. Djokovic won two more titles in 2010 and increased his lead over Federer to 5-1.
Novak had nine hard-court ATP 500 titles at the end of 2013, five more than Roger. The Swiss bounced back and forged a slight edge in the following four seasons, with the Serb focusing on Majors and Masters 1000 events. Federer clinched four titles in 2018 and 2019, and Djokovic stayed on one.
Roger passed Novak with the Basel title in Basel 2019, and the Serb leveled the score with the Dubai crown four months later. The Serb had to wait over two and a half years to lift the 14th hard-court ATP 500 title and pass the Swiss, achieving that in Astana last October.