Novak Djokovic wins his first match of 2022 in Dubai

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Novak Djokovic won his first match of the year when he beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-3 to open the Dubai Championships.

Djokovic couldn’t defend his Australian Open title last month because he was deported from the country for being unvaccinated.

The United Arab Emirates allowed him entry, and Djokovic cashed in at a tournament he’s won five times.

Musetti took two sets off Djokovic at the French Open last year but, on a breezy Dubai evening, the Italian wild card couldn’t convert bags of break chances while trailing 3-1 in the first set and 4-2 in the second.

“I have to be satisfied with my tennis, especially after not playing for two and a half, three months,” Djokovic said on court. “Of course, there were moments when I played great, there were moments when I made a couple of unforced errors in a row uncharacteristically. But it’s normal to expect that (in my) first match after a while.”

He next faces Karen Khachanov or Alex de Minaur.

Andy Murray won his first match in Dubai since his title run in 2017. He beat Australian qualifier Christopher O’Connell 6-7 (4), 6-3, 7-5 after nearly three hours.