On Wednesday night Novak Djokovic became only the12th man in the Tennis Open era (since 1968) to record 700 tour victories, when he won his third round match against Tunisia’s wild card Malek Jaziri; but last night he was forced to retire against Spaniard Feliciano Lópezin the last eight. This was Dokovic’s first tournament since winning his sixth title in Melbourne at the end of January, and it had a dramatic end for the champion.

The world number one made light work of his good friend Jaziri on Wednesday, as he won in straight sets 6-1, 6-2; the Serb is now one of only three active players that have passed the 700 wins milestone; the others two are Roger Federer, with 1,067 wins and Rafael Nadal, with 775 wins.

Djokovic’s current stranglehold on the men’s game is quite remarkable, bordering on unbelievable - he has reached the finals of 19 out of his last 20 tournaments, including 17 straight victories, as he leads his nearest challenger in the ATP rankings, Andy Murray, at number two by nearly 8,000 points; Djokovic has been a staggering 187 weeks at the top.

However, the world number one was forced to quit the match last night due to an eye problem, after losing the first set 6-3 to the Spaniard; the Serb was making two unforced errors in every game that was played, was forced to call his trainer and finally decided to retire. He has suffered from an infection in his right eye since the start of the Dubai Championship; however the infection has spread on both eyes and he was forced to quit the tournament, which he won four times previously, but lost to Roger Federer in the last two years.

López will now play against Marcos Baghdatis in the semi-finals of the Dubai tournament, while the Swiss Stan Wawrinka will play the Australian Nick Kyrgios.

Djokovic will head the Serbia’s team in the Davis Cup’s first round, when they meet the Kazakhstan’s squad in Belgrade at the beginning of March; he surely would like to be fit for the challenge. The Serbian team won the Davis Cup title in 2010.