Djokovic must pass the Monfils obstacle to go to the final in Dubai
Djokovic must pass the Monfils obstacle to go to the final in Dubai

Assured of keeping first world place on Monday, Novak Djokovic will face Friday for a place in the final in Dubai Gaël Monfils, against whom he has never lost, while Stefanos Tsisipas will start favorite against Daniel Evans.

In his quarter-final, “Djoko” outscored Russian Karen Khachanov, 17th in the world, in two sets (6-2, 6-2) and 1:06.

Quadruple winner of the event (2009-2011 and 2013), the Serb quickly took the service of his opponent in the two rounds and Khachanov also showed signs of annoyance with his coverage of the field.

The last confrontation on the ATP circuit between the two players had turned to the advantage of the Russian, during the final of the Masters 1000 in Paris in 2018.

Before thinking of a fifth title in the megalopolis of the United Arab Emirates, the native of Belgrade will find on his way another man in good shape in recent weeks.

In a 100% French confrontation, Gaël Monfils, world N.9, indeed easily defeated his compatriot Richard Gasquet, ranked 56th, 6-3, 6-3 in 1h13.

Monfils, titled in Montpellier and Rotterdam this season, remains on twelve consecutive victories, but he was beaten by Djokovic, by far his pet peeve, in their sixteen clashes, the last at the ATP Cup in January.

Sixteen is also the number of victories this season for Djokovic, unbeaten since the start of the year, counting his participation in the ATP Cup.

While the public was present in large numbers to attend Djokovic’s demonstration, the match between Monfils and Gasquet took place in front of almost empty stands.

In the other semi-final, the Greek Stefanos Tsisipas will meet the Briton, Daniel Evans.

Tsitsipas, the 6th player in the world, won a fight of almost two and a half hours against the German Jan-Lennard Struff (N.34).

Winner 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, the recent winner of the Marseille tournament experienced some difficulties.

“It was very tight, I was a little tired today,” said Tsitsipas after the match. But “this match was important to me, so I tried to hide it,” he said.

Solid on their face-off, Tsitsipas and Struff went back to back, especially in the last heat, but it was ultimately the German who cracked first by conceding his service game at 4-4 in the 3rd set.

His opponent confirmed the break-in stride to put the counter of Struff-Tsitsipas confrontations tied (two wins each).

Evans won 6-2, 7-6 (11/9) against Russian seed Andrey Rublev, seeded N.6 of the UAE tournament.

“It was difficult (…) I just didn’t want to play the third set, I think that’s what made the difference” in the second set, said the 37th world player.

The 29-year-old Briton has played two finals on the ATP circuit but has no title to his name.

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Synthia Rozario
An editorial staff member at The Eastern Herald. Formerly, correspondent of The Eastern Express, Hong Kong.