Semis Set in Dubai: Federer vs. Coric, Tsitsipas vs. Monfils
(February 28, 2019) Roger Federer has moved closer to his 100th career title by fighting past a determined Marton Fucsovics 7-6(6), 6-4 on Thursday to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday. The Hungarian Fucsovics had two set points in the tiebreak leading 6-4, when Federer won the next four straight points to close out the sets. Federer will take on sixth seed Borna Coric, who defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(1).
Federer is 2-2 versus the Croatian, with Coric winning the last two meetings.
“That was an exciting match, to say the least,” said Federer of the almost two-hour match. “Yeah. I mean, look, you just go out there and try your best. Sometimes you get in the lead, sometimes you don’t. Important was not to get down in the score early on. Yeah, it was tricky. A couple of rain delays, especially one at 5-All, coming back with sort of no preparation, if you like, just have to serve can be tricky.
“Then the same thing in the second for him also (at 4-4). The energy of the body, the adrenaline, tactics, all that stuff kind of fades away just a little bit in those rain delays. It’s tricky to come back and just hit winners after that. We made the most of it. The tiebreaker was tough. I’m happy I found a way to get out of that one.”
The second semifinal will see fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas take on Gael Monfils. Tsitsipas needed three sets to defeat Hubert Hurkacz 7-6, 6-7, 6-1. Rotterdam champion Gael Monfils held back Ricardas Berankis with a 6-1, 6-7, 6-2 victory.
“Second set, I don’t know, it was a little bit different,” Monfils said. “I mean, I had less on my shots. I felt a bit flatter. I think the energy dropped a little bit,” said Monfils. “He played a bit better. He was a bit more aggressive. I couldn’t really find my rhythm, as well. I felt he was a bit more pumped. It was tougher for me. I really had to really get upset and bring more energy for me, to move more my legs, to be a bit more aggressive on my shots, more aggressivity on every shot.”
“I might say that his serve dropped, first-serve percentages, giving me the opportunity and possibility to be more aggressive and start the rallies,” said Tsitsipas. “I was serving a bit better, maybe opening the court, making like less mistakes, being aggressive. When I broke him first time, I showed him that I’m still in the match. I guess that kind of mentally, he saw the dominance of his opponent. Yeah, that affected him probably. That’s how I felt.”