Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
World No.1 Novak Djokovic and second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas kept on course for a showdown in Saturday’s final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Djokovic took just 59 minutes to defeat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals, whilst Tsitsipas beat Alexander Bublik 7-6 (1) 6-4.
World No.6 Tsitsipas will next play Jan-Lennard Struff who took just 39 minutes to overwhelm Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1 6-0.
There were wins too for third seed Gael Monfils who ended the run of qualifier Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-1 6-2, and sixth seed Andrey Rublev, who survived a set point on the way to a 7-6 (3) 6-0 win over Filip Krajinovic. Seventh seed Karen Khachanov defeated qualifier Dennis Novak 6-3 6-4, but No.8 seed Benoit Paire was beaten 6-4 6-4 by Richard Gasquet in an all-French clash.
Djokovic had lost his most recent match against Kohlschreiber almost a year ago at Indian Wells, but victory this time was never in doubt. The reigning Wimbledon and Australian Open champion did not face a break point in the entire match, and although only one break of serve at 3-2 decided the opening set he eased through the second.
“Look, I thought I was very sharp from the beginning mentally,” said Djokovic, who is seeking his fifth Dubai title and first since 2013. “Took me a first few games to really kind of get used to the tricky conditions today. It was pretty windy on the court, even though maybe it doesn’t seem like that from outside. The wind was changing directions all the time. It was not really easy to get the rhythm. It was completely different from any other day.
“Philipp is a tough opponent. You have to take him seriously regardless of his ranking (world No.80). He’s someone that has tremendous experience of playing on a big stage. He’s played so many big tournaments in his life, big matches. He actually likes this kind of challenge. I knew coming into this match I have to be sharp, stay focused all the way till the end, not allow him to feel like he has a chance to come back to the match if I’m in front. That’s what happened.
“I thought the second set was really, really good. I felt great on my service games. Everything was flowing really nicely. The return games I was putting constant pressure on him.”
It’s the third time that the Serbian has begun his campaign with 15-0 match wins, posting 17-0 back in 2013, which was usurped in 2011 by a staggering 41-0 tally. Both of those seasons Djokovic lifted the trophy in Dubai.
French third seed Monfils also maintained a winning-streak, prevailing past world No.99 Uchiyama for an 11th victory in a row.
“It was a great match for me, especially with the difficult conditions, I’m very strong at the moment, so I think I can still play better,” declared Monfils, who faces close friend and compatriot Gasquet in the last eight. “We’ve playing each other since we were like 10 years old, we grew up together, we are the best of friends, so it’s going to be another big match, because we love to play each other. I’ll try and bring my best tomorrow.”
No. Words. 😱@DjokerNole | @TennisTV | @DDFTennis pic.twitter.com/quRFEwTk6m
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 26, 2020
“Novak Djokovic once again showed us why he is the No.1 player in the world and the holder of a remarkable 17 Grand Slam titles,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “His magnificent performance and those of others including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Gael Monfils provided great entertainment for us all, and we look forward to what is certain to be a fascinating next three days.”
Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, “We have enjoyed so many exciting matches today, with a number of the seeds having to fight very hard indeed to overcome their talented opponents. There is no doubt that as the tournament reaches its climax there will be many more thrilling battles before we crown our 2020 champion.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 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. The tournament continues until 29th February with world No.1 and Wimbledon and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals and recent Marseille winner Stefanos Tsitsipas, and 2020 Rotterdam and Montpellier champion Gael Monfils.
Struff means business this week 😲@Struffitennis moves past Basilashvili 6-1 6-0 & will face Tsitsipas in the @DDFTennis quarter-finals. pic.twitter.com/gZT7g5xShK
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 26, 2020