Yuichi Sugita (JPN)
February 28, 2018 -- DUBAI, U.A.E.: Third seed Roberto Bautista Agut will face former semi-finalist Borna Coric in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after each won in contrasting victories on Wednesday afternoon. Bautista Agut was kept on court for 2 hours 21-minutes before overcoming Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 6-7 (2) 6-1, while Coric took just 63 minutes to overwhelm Benoit Paire 6-1 6-4.
Bautista Agut had to be patient in the first set before he eventually took a 4-3 lead with his seventh break point. The second set remained equally close, with Herbert holding off four more break points and Bautista Agut having to save three against him, before Herbert swept the tiebreak with ease. The final set though was a swift affair which the third seed dominated from the start.
Watch Day 3 Highlights
Interviews: Roberto Bautista Agut Post-Match (mp3)
"I had to fight so hard," said Bautista Agut. "Was tough to feel good on the court today. We had a lot of wind. Was not easy to play, no? I try to play every point, but the feelings were tough. I (also) had a lot of chances to break him in the second set, but he started to play very aggressive with the second serve. He was playing serve and volley with the second. I was very close to break him in the second, but finally I had to play a third set."
Coric made a lightning start on his way to defeating fifth seed Richard Gasquet on Tuesday and was equally quick off the mark against Paire, breaking serve in the opening game before claiming the final four games of the set for the loss of just five points. Coric then built a 4-1 lead in the second, but had to hold off a late fightback as Paire broke in the seventh game and then levelled at 4-4. That was only a brief pause though on the way to an otherwise comfortable victory.
"It was a very good first two matches for me and I've been very happy with my performance, especially today," said Coric. "It was not very easy to play. It was windy, the courts are fast and the balls were flying. But I was making a lot of returns today, especially with this wind, and I broke him four or five times in the match which is very good. I made a lot of first serves."
And he wasn't concerned at dropping his serve for the only time in the match.
"I played all the right shots at the right moments but I missed an easy volley I shouldn't miss and he passed me unbelievable. But I was aggressive, I was going for the points, and he just played too good so I didn't really bother with that. I was just trying to stay calm which I did, and was positive I would have my chances again, which I did."
Eighth seed Yuichi Sugita also moved into the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (4) 6-4 win over Jan-Lennard Struff.
"Both Roberto Bautista Agut and Borna Coric did well to overcome difficult conditions on the courts today," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. "But that is the mark of champions, and both will have been greatly encouraged by their performances so far. We look forward to see how they fare in the coming days."
"Roberto Bautista Agut is enjoying his best run since he beat former Grand Slam champion Juan Martin del Potro in the Auckland final several weeks ago," said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. "It will be interesting to see how he copes now with an opponent who is in such dominating form."
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which continues until 3rd March, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Tickets are on sale online and from the Box Office, which is open 9am -9pm daily. For ticket sales go to http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets. For further information about the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreentennischampionships.com.