Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Day 4: Hurkacz to face Rublev in semi-finals

Quarter-finals day at the ATP 500 tournament as Djokovic continues his bid for a sixth title in Dubai

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It's quarter-finals day at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and all four matches will be staged on Centre Court. Russian second seed Andrey Rublev features in the first match against American Mackenzie McDonald, followed by the clash between Italian fourth seed Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz, the fifth seed from Poland.

The evening session begins with world No 1 and five-time champion Novak Djokovic up against Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely, before Canadian sixth seed Denis Shapovalov faces Richardas Berankis, the qualifier from Lithuania.

Vesely stuns Djokovic

Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely has caused an enormous upset after defeating Novak Djokovic in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships quarter-finals.

The world No 123, who emerged through qualifying, earned a stunning 6-4, 7-6 victory over the top seed.

As a result, Djokovic will be replaced on Monday by Daniil Medvedev at the top of the ATP Tour world rankings. It will be the first time since 2004 the top spot in men's tennis will be held by a player other than Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, or Andy Murray.

Read the full report here.

Hurkacz eases past Sinner

Hubert Hurkacz set up a Dubai semi-final with Andrey Rublev after an impressive victory over Jannik Sinner.

There was little to separate the two players before the match, with world No 11 Hurkacz ranked one place below Sinner and a head-to-head record of 1-1, but Hurkacz was levels above on the day to claim a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win.

The Polish fifth seed took his first step toward victory with a break in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead and he stayed behind his dangerous serve to take the opening set. The second set was even more convincing from Hurkacz, who broke in the third game and again in the ninth as Sinner served to stay in the match.

"I'm super pleased with my performance today," said Hurkacz, who didn't face any break points. "Playing Jannik, he's a great friend and such a nice guy. We've been on the tour about the same time and he's doing unbelievable well, so I'm very happy to go through after this one."

Rublev fights back again to reach semis

Andrey Rublev was forced to fight back from a set down for the second time this week as the Russian second seed booked his place in the Dubai semi-finals with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over American Mackenzie McDonald.

The Russian, who also dropped the first set against Soonwoo Kwon in the second round, was slow out of the blocks against McDonald, who broke in the opening game of the match and again in the fourth to move into a 5-0 lead. Rublev broke back and held for 5-2 but the Russian was broken again while attempting to extend the set.

The roles were reversed somewhat in the second set and, while Rublev faced and saved break points, he managed to convert twice on the McDonald serve to level the match. The momentum had firmly swung towards the world No 7 for the deciding set as he raced into a 5-0 lead, before closing out the win in his second match point.

"I was thinking, today for sure it's over," Rublev said, referring to the match after losing the first set. "I told myself to keep fighting and see what happens. I managed to break him at 3-3 and I started to feel better and I was able to change the match."

Rublev, 24, has been in fine form so far this season, having arrived in Dubai after winning the Marseille Open title on Sunday, and he is now into his third semi-final of the year.

"It's only my fourth tournament of the season, and all of them I did really well [in] so I'm super happy," he said. "The most important thing is to keep improving and we'll see what's going to happen."

Updated: February 24, 2022, 7:00 PM
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