Malek Jaziri’s Reaches the Semifinals of Dubai
(March 1, 2018) Malek Jaziri‘s magical run continued at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday when he defeated fellow wild card Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals. He will next face Roberto Bautista Agut after the No. 3 seed beat Borna Coric 7-6 (4), 6-4. The other semi-final will feature second seed Lucas Pouille against seventh seed Filip Krajinovic. Pouille overcame eighth seeded Yuichi Sugita 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 and Krajinovic beat Evgeny Donskoy 6-1, 6-2.
“Yeah, it was a big fight today,” said Jaziri. “Was not that easy at all. I finished very late yesterday. I think I was in bed at 2:30, so I didn’t sleep a lot. I tried to recovery the most. I had to get ready today. It’s not easy. I have less than 17 hours, I think, or 16 hours to prepare the match of today. Was a tough moment. During the match I was up and down little bit today. But I’m happy to win this match. You know, when you’re happy, you don’t feel tired.”
Bautista Agut is into his first Dubai semi-final and his first since he went on to win Auckland in January.
Coric had begun his previous matches this week in style, and although Bautista Agut at first held him at bay by winning the opening game at love and then holding two break points on the Coric serve, the Croatian quickly gained the advantage, broke for 2-1 and then held his next two service games at love. Bautista though managed to level the set at 4-4 by breaking Coric and then edged the tiebreak. Both players had a break point in the second set before Bautista Agut gained the decisive break at love to lead 5-4.
“I am happy, no? I think I played a very good tennis,” said Bautista Agut. “Was not easy to beat Borna. He’s very solid. He was playing very good serves. He was playing very aggressive. I’m happy because it’s my best match on the tournament. I was very solid, no? I think I didn’t rest in all the match. I played all the points, every point. I was very focused during all the match, trying to hit, to manage the match a little bit more than him, to make him pressure, to make him feel a little bit exhausted, trying to playing with a lot of rhythm.”
Pouille is bidding to win his second title of the year after recently winning in Montpellier, but he found it difficult to overcome a stubborn opponent.
“I knew it would be a tough one,” said Pouille. “He won plenty of matches in the past six, seven months. He’s a very good player. I knew I had to play some good tennis to win. I think after I lost the first set, I started to be a bit more aggressive, especially in the return. I was very close from the baseline, even sometimes inside the court to return the second serve. That put him under pressure. I think that made the difference.”
Krajinovic made a swift start against Donskoy and swept the first four games, and although Donskoy then made more of a challenge he was unable to turn the match in his favor.