Tsitsipas, Monfils Extend Winning Streaks, Reach Dubai Semi-finals
Monfils needs three sets to beat Berankis
Stefanos Tsitsipas needed to work hard to advance at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday, keeping alive his chances of breaking into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time.
Fifth-seeded Tsitsipas extended his winning streak to seven matches by beating first-time ATP Tour quarter-finalist Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 6-1 in two hours and 20 minutes at the Aviation Club in Dubai. “It was frustrating,” said Tsitsipas. “But I knew that the crowd enjoyed the match. They probably wanted to stay a bit longer.”
The reigning #NextGenATP Finals champion will next challenge an in-form Gael Monfils, winner of eight consecutive matches. Tsitsipas, who captured his second ATP Tour crown last week at the Open 13 Provence (d. Kukushkin), is level at 1-1 with Monfils, who won their 2019 Sofia Open clash 6-3, 7-6(5), in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
“We’re both serving really well,” said Tsitsipas. “We have similar game style. I guess, I'm a bit more aggressive than him, but he's much faster. I'm going to have to deal with all of that, be patient, play with passion as well, just wait for the opportunities to break him. I think I'm going to have to serve well.”
Tsitsipas led Hurkacz by and set and 3-1 before the Pole, who recorded his first Top 10 win over Kei Nishikori in the second round, began to find his range and sealed the second-set tie-break with a backhand volley winner. The 20-year-old Tsitsipas bounced back immediately to win the first five games of the decider en route to his 14th victory in 18 matches this year.
Meanwhile, Monfils will break back in the Top 20 on Monday. The 32-year-old, who captured his eighth ATP Tour crown on 17 February at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Wawrinka), knocked out Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2 in one hour and 55 minutes. He is now 12-2 in 2019.
Monfils, who has suffered a catalogue of injuries since rising to a career-high No. 6 on 7 November 2016, was last ranked in the Top 20 on 24 July 2017 (at No. 16).