Dubai | Medvedev and Rublev close to repeating last year’s final

Quarter final day at the Dubai Tennis championships threw up a couple of unexpected retirements leaving ticket holders feeling rather short-changed.

First of all, I didn’t know that he was suffering. And of course it’s always tough to finish matches like that so I wish Sebastian a fast recovery, I hope it’s nothing serious Andrey Rublev

The two opening matches ended prematurely with Jiri Lehecka and Sebastian Korda bowing out injured with their matches halfway through the second set.

The beneficiaries are Andrei Rublev, last year’s finalist and former champion, and Alexander Bublik who now meet in the semi-final!

The Czech Lehecka, the world No.36, arrived on court with his right arm taped up which provided early notice that he might not be fully fit for his match with Bublik, the Kazak seeded seven.

Lehecka was seen to clutch his arm during the previous round and it wasn’t long before he called for the physio and eventually retired after 58-minutes while trailing 4-6 1-4.

Rublev’s match with Korda followed with high expectations as the in-form American had stormed through his two previous matches dropping just three games.

But just like Lehecka, he ended up calling the physio and retired on the 63-minute with the score standing at 4-6 3-4 after he was broken for a second time in the second set.

“First of all, I didn’t know that he was suffering,” Rublev commented on his quick victory.

“And of course it’s always tough to finish matches like that so I wish Sebastian a fast recovery, I hope it’s nothing serious.”

And looking ahead, the Russian second seed added: “I think this surface fits well to him because it’s quite fast. The flat shots work very well here, drop shots. He likes all these things; he has a really good feeling for this.”

Both Rublev and Bublik are chasing their second title of the season after their triumphs in Hong Kong and Montpellier, respectively.

A more relaxing day for Daniil Medvedev

(Photo by Christopher Pike/Getty Images)

No surprises in the top half with the defending champion defeating Spain’s Alejandro Davidovic Fokinas 6-2 6-3, an easier than expected match as he had struggled to get past Italy’s Lorenzon Sonego in the previous round,

In that match he required three sets to make the last eight but on this occasion, he was in dominant mood with 15 winners, three aces and just six unforced errors to dispatch his opponent after 77-minutes,

“Alejandro can play very well,” Medvedev said. “Sometimes during matches he can have a little down moment and then he goes up. I knew that no matter the score, I needed to go until the last point. The second set at one moment got a bit tighter but I managed to stay there and win some more games and it was enough to win.”

The result of the round must go to the 25-year-old Frenchman Ugo Humbert, the fifth seed, who outlasted the third seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, 3-6 7-6(8) 6-3 to progress to semi-final meeting with Medvedev.

Humbert saved three match points in the second-set tiebreak and struck 24 winners in the match lasting two hours and 24-minutes.



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