Rublev wins opening match of Dubai title defense
Andrey Rublev began his defense of the Dubai title by ruining Filip Krajinovic’s birthday with a 7-5, 6-2 win on Monday.
Krajinovic, who is 31 years old, took the lead with a score of 5:2. Then runner-up Rublev played 11 of the next 13 games.
Rublev will then face Alejandro Davidovich Fokin, who beat Malek Jaziri in straight sets in the Tunisian’s last professional match.
Also, Alexander Zverev beat Jiri Lehecka with a score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Leheka won his first match in January in Sydney and beat Rublev in Doha last week before losing five match points against Andy Murray.
Zverev is still waiting to win back-to-back matches this year following his return from an ankle injury.
“Such matches are extremely important for me now,” Zverev said. “I found a way to win.”
Murray, the 2017 winner in Dubai, withdrew from the tournament citing a sore hip after he struggled to reach the final in Doha on Saturday. He lost to Daniil Medvedev, who is third in Dubai.
On Tuesday, top seed Novak Djokovic will play his first match since winning the Australian Open against Czech Republic Tomas Machak.
Rublev won the opening match of the title defense in Dubai originally appeared on NBCSports.com