Jaziri Stuns Dimitrov In Dubai
Malek Jaziri completed the biggest win of his career at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, coming from a set down to beat top seed Grigor Dimitrov 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Tuesday night. It was his first victory over an opponent in the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings (1-10 lifetime).
Jaziri, who reached the quarter-finals in 2014 (l. to Kohlschreiber), won 78 per cent of points behind his first serve and saved seven of the eight break points he faced to reach the last 16. “[It is a] great feeling today, to win my first [match against a] Top 5 player,” reflected Jaziri. “I am really happy for that. I tried to fight every point since the beginning. It was so tight.”
The 34-year-old, competing in Dubai for the sixth consecutive year, has his fair share of top level match experience in Dubai, having played Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic at the event in previous years. But, this time, with great offensive play, the Tunisian finally managed to secure a shock win at the tournament. “I was really aggressive today,” said Jaziri. “I tried hard to keep the ball in, tried hard to attack him, to add a lot of variety in the game today.”
The World No. 117 will meet Robin Haase in the second round, after the Dutchman’s three-set victory over qualifier Quentin Halys on Monday. “Robin is a good player, so it will be tough match,” said Jaziri.
Watch Tuesday's Dubai Highlights
Dimitrov had reached the quarter-finals or better at each of his three previous tournaments in 2018, but could not find his game in the first-round clash. “You have days like this that you can't really do much else,” admitted Dimitrov. “Unfortunately, I couldn't play my game to the extent that I was looking for. My movement was not good over the court. I thought I served okay for a little bit, but then I lost my rhythm again.”
Watch Hot Shot: Jaziri's Delicate Touch
The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion did have some words of praise for his opponent, after the disappointing loss. “All the credit to Malek. He played a good game. He was strong throughout the whole match. Actually was hitting pretty good shots. I mean, [he had] nothing to lose,” said Dimitrov.
Damir Dzumhur progressed to the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over qualifier Yannick Maden. The 25-year-old dropped serve on three occasions in the rain affected match, but proved a constant threat to the German’s delivery, breaking five times en route to victory. Dzumhur will next face Evgeny Donskoy, after the Russian defeated lucky loser Blaz Kavcic 6-3, 6-4.
Eighth seed Yuichi Sugita also moved into the next round, defeating Open 13 Provence semi-finalist Ilya Ivashka 7-5, 6-1. The World No. 42 surrendered just two points behind his first serve in nine service games.