Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Dubai, UAE – February 24 2022: Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz will face each other in the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday. Second seed Rublev, who is bidding for his 10th career title, was forced to stage an impressive recovery for the second straight day to overcome Mackenzie McDonald 2-6 6-3 6-1, and fifth seeded Hurkacz was too strong for Jannik Sinner as he beat the number four seed 6-3 6-3.
“Andrey Rublev has now reached his third consecutive semi-final this season, and he has reached the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-finals for the second straight year,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “We congratulate him, and also Hubert Hurkacz for reaching the semi-finals here for the first time.”
Rublev began slowly in his second round match against Soonwoo Kwon and did so again against McDonald, falling behind 5-0 and holding serve just once in the first set. He also had his back against the wall early in the second set as McDonald held a break point to lead 2-0 and another two break points for a 3-1 lead.
But after soaking up that pressure, Rublev finally opened the door to a recovery by holding off the three game points his opponent held at 2-2 and gaining his first break of the match to lead 3-2. He broke again at 5-3, and in a reverse of the opening set Rublev then built an intimidating 5-0 lead in the third set for the loss of just five points.
Rublev admitted to feeling the effects of so many recent matches, and he hopes that it will not affect his emotions as he continues to steer himself through what has been a challenging week.
“I feel completely tired, to be honest. I’m happy I was still able to win a match today. But I feel really, really tired. We’ll see,” said a relieved Rublev. “For me, the toughest part is emotions. Of course, for me it’s much easier to control them when I’m fresh, when I’m feeling good, I don’t know, in confidence, I have confidence, then I control them better.
“Of course, when I’m tired, exhausted like now, not really energy, my brain is not working the same way. Of course, it’s tough to control emotions. But in the end at least today only happen first set that I was showing them, then I was able to after the first set go to the bathroom, to take a breathe, to change completely my behaviour and my game.”
Hurkacz will play in an ATP 500 semi-final for the first time in his career on Friday. Just one break of serve decided the opening set, as Sinner double-faulted on game point and then fell behind as Hurkacz broke with his fourth break point of the game to lead 4-2. A break for 2-1 then gave Hurkacz an early advantage in the second set and he went on to break again at 5-3, claiming victory on his third match point.
“Andrey Rublev is understandably feeling the effects of playing so many recent matches, after winning not only the singles title in Marseille last week but the doubles too, and it will be very interesting to see how he fares as he continues his bid for the title” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Herbert Hurkacz has looked very impressive this week and he will be a formidable semi-final opponent for the number two seed.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which continues until 26th February, 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.