Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Novak Djokovic captured the Dubai Tennis Championships for a fourth time after claiming a straight-set win over Tomas Berdych in Saturday's final.
The top-seeded Djokovic remained unbeaten in 2013 and ran his winning streak to 18 straight matches dating back to last year with a 7-5, 6-3 victory. It was the world No. 1's first tournament since picking up his third straight Australian Open title in January.
Djokovic beat Berdych in the quarterfinals in Melbourne and Saturday's win improved the Serb's record to 13-1 against the Czech. He has won 11 straight over Berdych, including a semifinal victory in Dubai two years ago.
Berdych, who knocked off Roger Federer in the semifinals, appeared to have Djokovic on the ropes early Saturday with a 4-2 lead after an early break of serve. Djokovic regrouped and broke back to make it 4-4 and broke again in the final game of the first set when Berdych committed a double fault.
The second set remained on serve until the eighth game, when Djokovic converted the lone break point for either player in the set. It gave him a 5-3 lead and he quickly closed out the match in the following game.
"Tomas was obviously aggressive from the start and feeling confident after a win against Roger," said Djokovic. "I backed it up and I was playing from my back foot a bit and giving him too much time to control the points. That resulted with a break down, and then he missed a few easy shots on break points first and second set that gave me the victory basically. I felt when I came from break down that I started believing in myself a little bit more. I hung in there and stayed tough."
Djokovic, who previously won this event three straight years from 2009-11, earned his 36th career title. He improved to 36-19 in finals.
Berdych fell to 8-10 all-time in finals, including 0-2 this year. He was also the runner-up last week in Marseille, falling to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the title match.