Harris Lloyd was the first qualifier to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 defeat against the runner-up of the 2014 US Open, Kei Nishikori
Nishikori became the second big name on Thursday evening after US Grand Slam champion Dominic, who fell victim to Lloyd. Dominic Thiem was defeated 6: 3, 6: 4 in the round of 16.
The Japanese star admitted admitting the first set to focus on his fight. He said: “Lloyd’s serves were very good and he made the most of his chances in the game. I’m not 100% yet, but I’m proud of my efforts and need to believe in myself more. “
Nishikori is now expected to perform at the Miami Open.
An on-song Rublev made the job easy for Marton Fucsovics and sailed past the Hungarian 7-5, 6-2. The Russian extended his record to 23 wins in a row at an ATP 500 tournament and meets his Russian compatriot Aslan Karatsev.
Denis Shapovalov reached the semi-finals in his first tournament in Dubai, beating Jeremy Chardy 7: 5, 6: 4.
The couple had contrasting routes to Dubai. Chardy played the semi-finals in Antalya and at an Australian warm-up event in Melbourne. He was also a quarter-finalist in Rotterdam.
In the meantime, Shapovalov lost both games at the ATP Cup, crashed in the third round at the Australian Open and only won one game in Doha.
In a balanced game, it was Chardy’s double fault at 5-5 on serve and a Shapovalov break at 4-4 in the second set that turned out to be decisive for the Canadian’s victory. The left-hander won 26 of his 28 points on serve.
When asked about the improvements in his game, he said: “I focused very much on my serve and tried to create more variety. We also worked a lot on my footwork and I move well and when I move well I feel like everything is kind of fitting. “
Earlier in the day Karatsev overtook 16th seed Jannick Sinner 6: 7 (5), 6: 3, 6: 2 in a tough fight under the sun and reached his first semi-final in Dubai. Sinner rose 3-0 within the first 10 minutes, but Karatsev dug deep to drag the first set to just over an hour and eventually lost 6-7.
A resurgent Karatsev finished the second set 6-3 with a nice backhand within an hour. The Russian fought for 2-2 against two crucial breakpoints in the third set and ended the game 5-2, securing his place in the semifinals.
“Only one wildcard had reached the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships since 1998, when Malek Jaziri defeated his wildcard colleague Stefanos Tsitsipas. That was in 2018 and now we welcome another similar and remarkable achievement from Aslan Karatsev, ”said tournament director Salah Tahlak.
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