Dubai: Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas booked his second final in as many years with a fluent 6-2, 6-3 win over Britain’s Daniel Evans at the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, on Friday.
Losing finalist last year as Roger Federer picked up his eighth title in Dubai and a 100th singles career crown, Tsitsipas was never too bothered by his 29-year-old opponent in their first career meeting that lasted all of 80 minutes before an expectant centre court crowd awaiting the second semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils.
“I played really well, both my forehand and backhand side. Obviously I was dominating a lot from my forehand side. I was constructing and building the point from the forehand side. It helped tremendously get the lead and the upper hand, kind of being more in charge. I think that was something that helped me get those breakpoints when I had to,” Tsitsipas responded.
“My service games were close to excellent. I was just playing with a clear head and not thinking of too much, staying in the moment, trying to process of what potentially he’s going to use on the court. Yeah, I didn’t feel it was a threat. I had time, I had space. It was just a matter of time for me to take the lead and get up in the score,” the Greek added.
As the match progressed, Tsitsipas’s aggression and domination only improved with some lovely passing shots down the line on either side. In the second set, the 21-year-old broke early for a 2-1 lead after which he barely looked troubled, recording a second break in the ninth to serve out set and match 6-3 in an hour and 20 minutes.
Tsitsipas had lost his opening set to German Jan-Lennard Struff in their quarter-final on Thursday, but bounced back to win the next two sets to book his spot in the semi-finals for the second year in a row. Tsitsipas’s match winning streak now improves to eight matches and he has won 16 of the 17 sets played in that time span.
The world No. 2 last Sunday won the Marseille Open where he didn’t drop a single set en route to his win over Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime. Less than a week later, he will have a bigger challenge before him in Dubai as he awaits either Djokovic or Monfils in Saturday’s final.
“He’s [Djokovic] in really good form and shape. He’s been playing great tennis. Everybody has seen what he did at the Australian Open. For sure, I’m going to have to bring the best out of my game and reduce my mistakes and in general reduce everything, stay aggressive like today I would say. He’s just a solid player. Everything is good: forehand, backhand, serve. Very consistent, very solid and he doesn’t miss a lot either,” Tsitsipas complimented.
“It’s going to take something extra for me to beat him tomorrow [Saturday]. I’m going to try and seek for that,” he vowed.
Earlier in the men’s doubles, John Peers of Australia combined with Michael Venus of New Zealand to ease their way past Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 (2), 6-2 to enter their first final together as a pair. The second semi-final between Raven Klaasen and Oliver Marach and qualifiers Henri Kontinen and Jan-Lennard Struff was to be held later in the night.
(Singles semi-finals) Stefanos Tsitsipas bt Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-3
(Doubles semi-finals) John Peers/Michael Venus bt Jurgen Melzer/Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 (2), 6-2.