Preview: Krajinovic-Pouille, Bautista Agut-Jaziri Face Off For Dubai Final
A preview of men’s semi-finals at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Three seeded players have made it to the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, and each of them seek their first appearance in the Dubai title match. They are joined by a wild card who is a veteran of the event, playing the main draw for the sixth straight year and posting a career-best result at Dubai in 2018.
Singles play kicks off on Friday with the first semi-final, between No. 2 seed Lucas Pouille of France and No. 7 seed Filip Krajinovic from Serbia. The two will face off for the second time in as many weeks, following Pouille’s tough three-set victory over the Serb in the Marseille quarter-finals last Friday. Pouille has made it into the Dubai semi-finals for the second straight year after some challenging victories: he exacted revenge over Karen Khachanov in the second round after the Russian had beaten him just days before in the Marseille final, and then was pushed to three sets for the second straight match in his comeback quarter-final win over 8th- seeded Yuichi Sugita. Krajinovic was initially tested in his opening round, dropping his first set of the event 0-6 to Thomas Fabbiano, but then reeled off six sets in a row to reach the final four in his tournament debut.
The second singles semi-final will feature 3rd-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut taking on wild card Malek Jaziri of Tunisia. The 34-year- old Tunisian has been the sensation of the event since he stunned No. 1 seed Grigor Dimitrov in the opening round to claim the first Top 10 win of his career. Having backed up that victory with triumphs over Robin Haase and Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jaziri finds himself in the Dubai semi-finals for the first time, in his sixth straight appearance in the main draw. Bautista Agut, however, appears to have rounded back into form after suffering a three-match losing streak between his title in Auckland and this week. The Spaniard survived the longest match of the event so far, a two-hour and 21-minute victory over Pierre- Hugues Herbert, but he won that match 6-1 in the third, and has not dropped a set in his other two wins here.