Flawless Djokovic downs Hurkacz to reach Dubai semi-finals

Dubai, March 3 (BNA): Novak Djokovic continued his path towards his third title in 2023 by qualifying for the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships, after defeating Hubert Horkacz 6-3, 7-5 on Thursday.

The 35-year-old Serbian won in Adelaide before claiming a No. 22 Grand Slam title at the Australian Open while battling a hamstring injury and is back on form after a slow start in Dubai on his return to the tour, Reuters reports. .

Navigating the first set on the back of one break, Djokovic found it a bit more difficult in the next as big-serving Hurkacz raised his game in search of his first win against the world number one in their fifth meeting.

And after a decisive stop from 0-30 to level at 5-5, Djokovic got another break to double the pressure on Hurkacz and the five-times champion closed out the match on serve.

“It was a tough match, as always, against Hubert,” Djokovic said. “I think he got one of the best serves in the match. In the second set, until game 11, I didn’t have a lot of chances against his serve.

“Fortunately for me, I also found my serving rhythm… One or two points can decide the winner in matches like this.

“I’m really happy with the way I played under pressure.”

Followed by Djokovic’s meeting with former world number one Daniil Medvedev, who beat Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2.

Alexander Zverev earlier reached his first semi-final since last year’s French Open with a 7-5 6-4 victory over Lorenzo Sonego.

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The seventh seed had a rough patch after spraining his ankle at Roland Garros and undergoing surgery, only returning to the ATP Tour in December after developing bone edema during his rehabilitation.

“It’s been a very difficult period for me over the past nine months,” said Zverev, ranked 16th in the world. “I have never played tennis for such a long time for the first time in my life.

“It definitely shows that hard work pays off and I’m very happy with my progress and how I’m playing now. I’m happy I’m in my first semi-final since injury.

“I hope this will not be the last, and I hope there will be more to come.”

Zverev next plays defending champion Andrey Rublev after the flammable Russian overcame a late bobble to overtake Butch van de Zandscholp 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Zverev has won each of their five meetings, including their most recent meeting in the 2021 Cincinnati final.

It will be difficult, – said Rublev. “I have to play good, aggressive tennis.”

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