The quarterfinal lineup at the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is complete. Three of the highest-seeded players are still in the draw, with World No.1 Novak Djokovic leading the charge.
Who will book their place in Friday’s last four?
ATP Dubai Quarterfinal Predictions
Andrey Rublev vs Dan Evans
Head-to-head: Rublev 1-0 Evans
Andrey Rublev squeezed past Filip Krajinovic in a topsy-turvy encounter that briefly appeared to go against him, before he took control of proceedings to win 7-6 6-0. The Russian improves to 15-2 for the season as he seeks a semifinal berth in his first main draw appearance in Dubai.
Rublev will come up against the ATP’s dangerous floater Dan Evans, who has played a fine tournament this week. The British No.1 claimed his fourth top-20 scalp of the year in beating Italy’s Fabio Fognini in the first round and then saved three match points to defeat big-serving Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round in nearly three hours. Evans has now made the quarterfinals in all four non-slam events he has played this year, including the ATP Cup. But will his run stop here?
More likely. Evans’ court craft and variety can be a nightmare for opponents, but I suspect Rublev will be more adept to counter the slick slice. If the Russian can combine power with patience as he did in their meeting in Adelaide, he should have enough to see off the spirited Briton.
Prediction: Rublev in 2
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Head-to-head: Tsitsipas 1-2 Struff
Stefanos Tsitsipas ticked all the boxes on the self-improvement grid last year, and despite an early season wobble in Australia, he is now walking with his own two feet. The Greek sensation was ruthless in his title defense in Marseille last weekend, beating the likes of Mikael Ymer, Vasek Pospisil and Felix Auger-Aliassime without dropping a set.
Tsitsipas reached the finals in Dubai last year and there is a strong chance of headlining the championship match this year. He will play German big-hitter Jan-Lennard Struff in the last eight – a player who seems to enjoy playing the underdog role this week.
The 29-year-old stunned former champion Bautista Agut on Tuesday evening to pick up only his second tour-level win of the season. He then handed Nikoloz Basilashvili a devastating beatdown in the second round, completing a 6-1 6-0 win in just 39 minutes.
Struff has been a thorn in Tsitsipas’ game as evidenced in their three meetings in 2019 in which he won two of them. But Tsitsipas is on a roll and his serve is almost impregnable. He has been broken only three times since the beginning of last week. Expect the young Greek to make the semis, but only just.
Prediction: Tsitsipas in 3
Gael Monfils vs Richard Gasquet
Head-to-head: Monfils 10-7 Gasquet
Gael Monfils is another in-form player in 2020, and his extraordinary winning run is showing no signs of abating. The flamboyant Frenchman is three matches away from capturing a remarkable third title in February following his successes on the indoor hard-courts of Montpellier and Rotterdam respectively.
Monfils will meet fellow countryman Richard Gasquet who powered past Benoit Paire to reach his second quarterfinal of the season.
The 33-year-old one-hander seems to have overcome his early season fitness concerns. Gasquet missed the opening month of the year due to knee injury and on his return to action in Montpellier, he failed to complete his quarterfinal match against Vasek Pospisil.
Monfils and Gasquet are meeting for the umpteenth time and both of them like defending from the baseline and forcing errors out of their opponents’ rackets. Monfils though is the one with extra bit of agility and athleticism, and he should advance to the semifinals where he will likely meet Djokovic in an enticing contest.
Prediction: Monfils in 2
Novak Djokovic vs Karen Khachanov
Head-to-head: Djokovic 2-1 Khachanov
World No.1 Novak Djokovic continues to terrorize the chasing pack at the Dubai Championships as he eased past Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-1 without facing a single break point. He has now hit 15 matches unbeaten in 2020 and is the overwhelming favorite to win his fifth title at the Aviation Club in Dubai.
The Serbian star will next face Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals. The power-hitting Russian sensationally defeated Djokovic at the 2018 Paris Masters to win his maiden Masters 1000 title. But unfortunately for the 23-year-old he has not quite hit that level again.
It would take a colossal performance to stop Djokovic this week, and Khachanov on current form just doesn’t have it in him.
Prediction: Djokovic in 2
Main Photo from Getty.
Disagree with our ATP Dubai Quarterfinal Predictions? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.