Djokovic into Dubai quarter-finals

World number one Novak Djokovic impressed again at his first tournament since being deported ahead of the Australian Open, beating Russian Karen Khachanov 6-3 7-6 to reach the Dubai Championships quarter-finals.

Just as against Lorenzo Musetti in his opening match, Djokovic received plenty of vocal support from a large crowd at the Aviation Club and responded with some dazzling tennis under the lights.

The 20-times Grand Slam champion was forced to pull out all the stops in the second set to fend off a fired-up Khachanov, forging ahead in the tiebreak and claiming victory on his first match point with a superb return.

The Serbian is competing for the first time this year after his hopes of winning a 10th Australian Open title were dashed when he was deported following an 11-day saga revolving around his decision not to have a COVID-19 vaccination and the subsequent exemption he was granted to play in the event.

His absence from Melbourne allowed career-rival Rafa Nadal to win the title and move ahead in the race to claim the most men's Grand Slam titles, reaching 21.

Djokovic could also lose his number one ranking in the next week even if he wins the Dubai title.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, who Nadal beat in a thrilling Australian Open final, will take the top ranking if he wins the Acapulco title.

Djokovic faces Czech Jiri Vesely next.