DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Defending champion Novak Djokovic posted a solid straight-set victory Tuesday in a first-round match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Djokovic has won the event four of the last five years -- he lost in the semifinals in 2012 -- and opened his 2014 defense with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Denis Istomin. Djokovic improved to 5-0 all-time versus Istomin and has lost just one set in the series.
He won two-thirds of the points on serve and saved all four of the break points Istomin had. All of those came in the second set. Djokovic was able to finish off three of his 12 break opportunities.
No. 2-seed Juan Martin del Potro retired from his match after Somdev Devvarman took the first set 7-6 (7-3). Del Potro cited a left wrist injury as the reason for his being unable to continue. Del Potro is right-handed but hits a two-handed backhand.
Third-seeded Tomas Berdych took out Marius Copil 6-3, 6-4, losing only 12 points over his 10 games serving.
Mikhail Youzhny, the No. 6 seed, had a pair of breaks in each set of a 6-3, 6-4 win over Michal Przysiezny, and seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completed the first round with a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Victor Hanescu.