For the second straight match, Roger Federer had to go the distance in Dubai. After a 3-set win Monday over Philipp Kohlschreiber, the Swiss needed another third set to dispatch another veteran in Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
“These best-of-three set matches, you’re not always in control of everything because, like you saw at the end, a good five minutes from your opponent or a good five minutes from you can decide the outcome of the match,” said Federer. “You’re definitely living on the edge at some point in the match. This is how it is.”
Federer improves to 7-0 against the Spaniard as he wins his 50th career match at the event. The 7-time champion is seeking a 100th career title.
“I’m happy I actually stayed calm throughout the game,” said Federer. “I felt like I was having a good feeling out there. Even though I wasn’t playing my best, I still felt like it was going to fall my way when it really mattered. I think that confidence is kind of important in sports or in tennis. I’m happy I had it today… I played good at the end. I had the serve when I needed it, had some good shots, a good point on break point when I needed it. That was nice to win it that way.”
Tomorrow, Federer takes on Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.
“I know Marton quite well actually,” said Federer. “He came to Zurich to train with me. He was nice enough to come there. I don’t remember how long we spent, but a few days practising together there. We had a great time. Then, I played him at the Australian Open last year. [It was a] good match… He’s improved. He likes the fast surfaces. He likes to play up in the court. He has the power when required. I think it’s going to be definitely a match that’s going to test me tomorrow.”
Polish youngster Hubert Hurkacz collected his best career win upsetting top seed Kei Nishikori 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.
“It’s huge win for me because it’s the first Top 10 win,” said the 22-year-old Hurkacz. “Maybe I was better prepared mentally for this battle today. It gives me huge confidence. I’m going to try to keep going forward.
“I was trying to fight for every point. Kei is an unbelievable player. I had to serve well. That gave me some opportunities to attack after the serve [and] also win [a] couple of easy points. Against such a great player, it’s very important to have some free points. I also think I was returning quite well… I’m very happy with the win today.”
Hurkacz will next face fellow NextGeen Stefanos Tsitsipas who was also a winner today.
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