Tunisian outsider Malek Jaziri continued his surprise run at the Dubai Championships by beating Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday to reach the semi-finals. The 34-year-old wildcard will next face third seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Croatian Borna Coric 7-6(4), 6-4.
Jaziri overcame a second-set blip to see off qualifier Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and reach the third semi-final of his career. Jaziri, who began his week by knocking out world number four Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, is the first Arab player to get this far in Dubai since Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui in 2002, who reached the final and lost to France’s Fabrice Santoro. The world number 117 is now just one win away from reaching his first-ever ATP Tour final.
“It was a big fight today, not that easy at all,” Jaziri said. “I finished very late yesterday. I think I was in bed at 2:30, so I didn’t sleep a lot. I tried to recover the most, I had to get ready today. It wasn’t easy, i had less than 17 hours. I was up and down little bit today. But I’m happy to win this match.”
French second seed Lucas Pouille was due to face the Japanese eighth seed Yuichi Sugita later. Bautista Agut overcame Coric, who made his name in Dubai three years ago when he knocked out three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray.
The Spaniard, who won the Auckland title in January, broke the Croatian twice to ensure his eighth win of the season. “I am happy, I played very good tennis,” Bautista Agut said. “It was not easy to beat Borna. He’s very solid. He was playing very good serves. He was playing very aggressive – it’s my best match of the tournament.”
-Inputs from AFP