Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
Malek Jaziri will face third seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday after defeating fellow wild card Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 3-6 6-3 and Bautista Agut beat Borna Coric 7-6 (4) 6-4.
Only one break for 2-1 decided the first set in Jaziri’s favour, and he had an opportunity to break again for 3-2 in the second set but netted his return. Tsitsipas then broke to lead 4-2 with a return of his own and had a break point to lead 1-0 in the third set before Jaziri broke for 4-2.
This is the 34-year-old’s third semi-final on the ATP World Tour, and the first at the ATP World Tour 500 level.
“It’s a great feeling,” Jaziri told the crowd on court after the match. “I am playing the best tennis of my life.
“It was a big fight today,” Jaziri added later, in his press conference. “It was not that easy at all. I finished very late yesterday. I think I was in bed at 2:30, so I didn’t sleep a lot. I tried to recovery the most. I had to get ready today. It’s not easy. I have less than 17 hours, I think, or 16 hours to prepare for today’s match. It was a tough moment. During the match I was up and down little bit. But I’m happy to win this match. You know, when you’re happy, you don’t feel tired.”
Bautista Agut is into his first Dubai semi-final and his first since he went on to win Auckland in January.
Coric had begun his previous matches this week in style, and although Bautista Agut at first held him at bay by winning the opening game at love and then holding two break points on the Coric serve, the Croatian quickly gained the advantage, broke for 2-1 and then held his next two service games at love. Bautista though managed to level the set at 4-4 by breaking Coric and then edged the tiebreak. Both players had a break point in the second set before Bautista Agut gained the decisive break at love to lead 5-4.
“I am happy, no? I think I played a very good tennis,” said Bautista Agut. “Was not easy to beat Borna. He’s very solid. He was playing very good serves. He was playing very aggressive. I’m happy because it’s my best match on the tournament. I was very solid, no? I think I didn’t rest in all the match. I played all the points, every point. I was very focused during all the match, trying to hit, to manage the match a little bit more than him, to make him pressure, to make him feel a little bit exhausted, trying to playing with a lot of rhythm.”
“Malek Jaziri has always been popular in Dubai, and he has acknowledged that the support he receives from the fans is a great motivator for him in difficult moments,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “It is wonderful that he has managed to build upon his success in beating Grigor Dimitrov, proving to one and all that he fully deserved that unexpected victory.”
Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, “Once again we have been able to enjoy the fighting qualities of Malek Jaziri, and his win today over Stefanos Tsitsipas was very well deserved. Roberto Bautista Agut also had to overcome a strong opponent in Borna Coric and he also is into his first semi-final here. It will be fascinating to see which of them now goes on to reach the final.”
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.