The quarterfinal line-up at the 2019 ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships will feature some intriguing matches as Roger Federer bids for a 100th career title.
Gael Monfils vs Ricardas Berankis
Head-to-head: Monfils 1-0 Berankis
Last meeting: Bucharest 2014 (Monfils won 6-1 6-3)
Since winning in Rotterdam a fortnight ago, Gael Monfils has replicated that form to the fast courts of Dubai. The Frenchman is on a 7-match winning streak and has won 17 of his last 20 matches. He has taken out Marin Cilic and Marcos Baghdatis in impressive fashion to equal his career best appearance at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Monfils need not underestimate Ricardas Berankis, his quarterfinal opponent. The Lithuanian has exceeded expectations this week, after coming through the qualifiers and stunning Sofia champion Daniil Medvedev in the first round. He won his 10th Challenger title of his career in Rennes in January. Considering Monfil’s brilliant winning streak, you suspect Berankis will come up short here. The qualifier has had a decent tournament and if he gets an unlikely win it would be worth a bonus point. However, that is not bound to happen as Monfils is in excellent run of form. The positive for Berankis is that he will crack the top 100 once again following his great run this week.
Prediction: Monfils in 2
Roger Federer vs Marton Fucsovics
Head-to-head: Federer 1-0 Fucsovics
Last meeting: 2018 Australian Open (Federer won 6-4 7-6 6-2)
Sometimes even the greats can feel the pressure and succumb to nerves. Roger Federer has experienced a bit of both as he eyes a 100th career title and his eighth in Dubai. The Swiss was tested by Fernando Verdasco in the second round before claiming another three set win. Federer extended his head-to-head record to 7-0 against the Spaniard and dropped a set to the 35-year-old for the first time since 2009. The Maestro will need to be wary of the threat posed by Marton Fucsovics. Federer described the Hungarian during the post match intervirew as a player who likes fast surfaces and who likes to play up in the court. Fucsovics is also a very clean hitter of the ball. He has reached the final of Sofia Open this year and he had a very intense battle against World No.1 Novak Djokovic in Qatar in a three set defeat. Federer has not shown his best form just yet and needed three sets to beat Kohlschreiber and Verdasco. This should be cause for concern as Fucsovics, on current form, is a significant upgrade to the pair and he has a very good chance of causing an upset.
Prediction: Fucsovics in 3
Hubert Hurkacz vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Head-to-head: Hurkacz 0-2 Tsitsipas
Last meeting: 2019 Marseille (Tsitsipas won 6-4 6-2)
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz will face off for the second week in a row. Tsitsipas won easily in Marseille during their first meeting en route to his first ATP title of the year. Hubert Hurkacz’s early defeat in Marseille meant he went straight to Dubai to play the qualifiers before earning a spot in the main draw. The man from Wroclaw shocked the top seed Kei Nishikori in the second round with a sensational display of power tennis in which he hit an impressive 31 winners. With that victory, the big serving Pole claimed his first top 10 win of his career. Inspite of a long week in Marseille which perhaps has taken a lot out of Tsitsipas, he has shown no signs of fatigue. That could be bad news for Hurkacz.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 3
Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Borna Coric
Head-to-head: Basilashvili 2-2 Coric
Last meeting: 2018 Halle (Coric won 6-4 6-2)
This is a hard one to call between two baseliners with contrasting gamestyles. Nikoloz Basilashvili has played some excellent tennis this week beating Karen Khachanov and defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut. Coric, despite not playing spectacular tennis, found a way to win a final set tiebreak in his two matches. Both players are tied at 1-1 on hard courts which further illustrates just how tight this match could be. On the basis of what we have witnessed this week, the Georgian should have the upper hand.
Prediction: Basilashvili in 2