Roger Federer gets his shot at revenge and a 100th career title Saturday in Dubai as he takes on the man who stunned him in Australia, Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Federer, who has already won seven Dubai titles, cruised into the finals overwhelming Borna Coric 6-2, 6-2. The Croatian had beaten Federer twice last year, but Federer was in full control Friday in his best performance of the week.
“I was really happy with my play today,” said Federer after the 67-minute win. “In terms of feeling, was definitely by far the best one, so that was good. I’m sure Borna was feeling it a little bit from his past few matches.
“I think it was important to mix it up, be solid, not give him too many chances and keep showing him it’s going to be really difficult for him to win,” said Federer. “At the end, I actually played really good. I’m very pleased.”
Tsitipas came from a set and a break down to deny Gael Monfils in a thriller 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(4). Both entered off winning streaks from Sunday titles, but Monfils was in charge early with a set and a 3-1 lead before the Greek stormed back.
“The whole match changed out of nowhere,” said Tsitsipas. “I have improved since last year. Beating the big guys, big players, players that have been in the Top 10, means a lot to me.”
The win will also put Tsitsipas into the Top 10 for the time on Monday.
“I wanted to get there at some point myself, and I made it today. I don’t know, probably a special day for Greece,” Tsitsipas said.
The 32-year-old Monfils blew numerous break chances in the third, and he had beaten the Greek last month in Sofia.
“I had some opportunities,” said Monfils. “I couldn’t make them today. I think I was up a break, and I didn’t serve that good at the start of the second set. It was a big confirmation when he broke me back. Less first serves [and] less accuracy. Then, I think, I got those opportunities in the third set.”
Tsitsipas will seek a 3rd career title and a second straight win over Federer.
“[He] showed me at the Australian Open, how hard he is,” said Federer. “I hope I’m going to play well… We’re still far from [100 titles], it seems. I’m just going to try to focus and play good tennis.”
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