Tsitsipas Keeps Momentum Rolling In Dubai

Struff beats 2018 champion Bautista Agut

Just two days after capturing his second straight Open 13 Provence crown, Stefanos Tsitsipas made a winning return to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Tuesday.

The second seed battled through a competitive opening set against Pablo Carreno Busta, before charging to a 7-6(1), 6-1 victory after one hour and 34 minutes. Tsitsipas improves to 8-4 this season and has now won 10 consecutive sets.

”I'm happy that I got two-set victories for a very long time,” said Tsitsipas. “I'm not spending extra hours out on the court, which for sure is going to help me.”

The reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion is aiming to improve on last year’s runner-up finish in Dubai. On that occasion, Tsitsipas defeated Hubert Hurkacz and Gael Monfils in back-to-back three-set matches to book a championship-match meeting with Roger Federer.

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Tsitsipas has now won each of the four sets he has contested with Carreno Busta in their two ATP Head2Head matches. The 21-year-old also beat Carreno Busta in straight sets to reach his maiden ATP Tour final at the 2018 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell.

Tsitsipas will face Alexander Bublik in the second round. The World No. 47 saved three of four break points to beat Hurkacz 6-2, 7-5 in 76 minutes.

It will be the second meeting between Tsitsipas and Bublik in as many weeks. Three days ago, Tsitsipas moved past the Kazakhstani 7-5, 6-3 to reach his 10th ATP Tour championship match in Marseille.

”[Bublik] is a tricky player. He does unexpected things on the court,” said Tsitsipas. “I just need to be there, do my job the way I'm doing it so far. I'm doing great. I should continue doing the same, handle things the same way, be cautious and know when I have to put in the extra effort.”

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Jan-Lennard Struff produced an impressive attacking performance to overpower Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(2), 7-5. The German fired 44 winners and won 19 of 24 net points to eliminate the 2018 champion in one hour and 52 minutes.

Struff entered the contest with a 0-3 ATP Head2Head record against Bautista Agut, but produced his best level to win his first two sets against the Spaniard and reach the second round in Dubai for the third straight year. The 29-year-old will next meet Nikoloz Basilashvili, who recovered from a set down to beat Ricardas Berankis 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3.

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