Dubai Tennis: Roger Federer battles past Fernando Verdasco, Gael Monfils marches on, Kei Nishikori stunned in second round

A round-up from Day 3 at the ATP 500 event as the remaining players aim to reach the quarter-finals

epa07401724 Roger Federer of Switzerland in action against Fernando Verdasco of Spain during their second round match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis ATP Championships 2019 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 27 February 2019.  EPA/ALI HAIDER
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Roger Federer survived a fierce challenge from Fernando Verdasco to reach the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday.

The seven-time champion prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in a tense encounter on Centre Court.

Federer, the world No 7, looked in charge when he raced through the first set in just 27 minutes. But Verdasco forced a decider after breaking Federer in his first service game of the second set.

Federer, though, stayed on track as a break in the eighth game gave him the advantage, and he served it out to love to clinch victory.

The second seed will play world No 35 Marton Fucsovics on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals.

Monfils marches on

Gael Monfils continued his impressive 2019 form as he booked a spot in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a comfortable victory over Marcos Baghdatis.

The world No 23 prevailed 6-3, 6-2 on Centre Court in a match that lasted just 66 minutes.

Monfils won in Rotterdam earlier in February and also reached the semi-finals of the Sofia Open. His success against Baghdatis came after he beat No 3 seed Marin Cilic on Tuesday.

He will next face world No 113 Richard's Berankis on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals.

Basilashvili knocks out defending champion

Defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut's hopes of retaining his Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title are over after he was defeated in the second round by Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The Spaniard was beaten 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 by his Georgian opponent in the clash on Court 1.

Basilashvili, the world No 19, will face the winner of the match-up between No 6 seed Borna Coric and Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals.

Also through to the last eight is Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-2.

Roger Federer or Fernando Verdasco, who play at 7pm on Centre Court, will be the next opponent for the world No 35.

Nishikori stunned by Hurkacz

Top seed Kei Nishikori is out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after being shocked by Hubert Hurkacz in their second-round match.

The Japanese No 1 rarely produced an inconsistent display, which saw him lose 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 to the Polish world No 77, who had not won a match on the ATP Tour's main circuit in 2019 until this week in the UAE.

Nishikori lost the first set after being 5-3 up, and then surrendered a 5-1 lead in the second set before he eventually forced a final set.

But a break in the fourth game of the decider gave Hurkacz the advantage and the 28 year old held his nerve to triumph over a top-50 player for the first time in his career.

Hurkacz will face either fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or qualifier Egor Gerasimov in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, world No 113 Richard Berankis has guaranteed he will be back in the ATP top 100 rankings next week after reaching the quarter-finals in Dubai.

He defeated Denis Kudla 6-4, 6-1 and will play Gael Monfils for a place in the semi-finals on Thursday.