Roger Federer is two matches away from his 100th career title after beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6(6) 6-4 to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
After a brief rain interruption when the players were locked at 5-5 in the opening set, Federer saved two set points in the tiebreak and held firm to gain the upper hand in the contest.
“The tiebreak was tough. I’m happy I found a way to get out of that one,” Federer said. “That was an exciting match, to say the least.”
The drizzle returned at 4-4 in the second set but Federer switched gears after the restart, sealing a decisive break to go ahead 5-4 and closed out the match in an hour and 56 minutes.
The Swiss is looking to become the second man in the professional era to reach 100 tour-level tournament tiles, joining Jimmy Connors, who won 109. Seven of Federer’s previous 99 triumphs have come in Dubai.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner will next face sixth-seeded Borna Coric, who beat Nikolaz Basilashvili 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-1). Coric beat Federer twice last year, including in the Halle final.
|2015||Dubai||hard||SF||Federer d Coric||6-2 6-1|
|2018||Indian Wells||hard||SF||Federer d Coric||5-7 6-4 6-4|
|2018||Halle||grass||F||Coric d Federer||7-6(6) 3-6 6-2|
|2018||Shanghai||hard||SF||Coric d Federer||6-4 6-4|
The young Croat came close to making it three straight wins over Federer in 2018, leading their Indian Wells quarterfinal by a break in both the second and third sets before going down.
“He’s really found his game,” Federer said of Coric. “We’ve had a couple tough matches as of late.”
Gael Monfils continued his fine recent form by rallying past Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis 6-1 6-7 (7-3) 6-2, with the victory set to catapult him back into the top 20 on Monday.
The Frenchman, who won his first title of the year in Rotterdam earlier this month and is currently on an eight-match winning streak, takes on Australian Open semifinalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last four.
Tsitsipas, 20, survived a mid-match wobble to get past Polish qualifier Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(4) 6-7(1) 6-1.
“We’re both serving really well. We have similar game style. I’m a bit more aggressive than him, but he’s much faster,” Tsitsipas said of Monfils.
The pair have a 1-1 head-to-head record with world No.23 Monfils winning their most recent meeting in Sofia this year.
“I’m going to have to … be patient, play with passion as well, wait for the opportunities to break him. I’m going to have to serve well,” Tsitsipas added.
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