The 14th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship (MWTC) got underway on Friday, revealing the first players to make it through the semifinals, World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas and defending champion Andrey Rublev.
The tournament staged over three days at the International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi, got underway on Friday with the opening match featuring World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas and Briton Cameron Norrie.
The Greek edged the 2021 Indian Wells champion in straight sets 6-1, 6-4, securing his ticket to the semifinals.
The positive result comes a week after both players met at the Diriyah Tennis Cup in a clash that saw Norrie toppling the 2019 MWTC runner-up, 6-4, 6-4, after one hour and 24 minutes.
The World No. 14 made a slow start to the opener, while Tsitsipas stormed to take control of the set, closing out a 6-1 win.
The 27-year-old regrouped into the second set, breaking his opponent’s serve. However, his efforts would not halt Greece’s top racquet from avenging last week’s defeat and moving into the next round, wrapping up a solid triumph.
After their encounter, Tsitsipas said: “I think it was a good match from my side, but also Cam tried to play his best. Cam already played well in Saudi. But for sure, it was really enjoyable playing here.”
On Saturday, the 24-year-old will face World No. 3, Casper Ruud, for a place in the final. They played one another twice at tour level, with one victory for each side.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Andrey Rublev took on Croatian Borna Coric, who replaced injured American Frances Tiafoe, in the second quarterfinal matchup.
The Moscow native made a successful start to his title defense at the exhibition event, prevailing over the Western & Southern Open champion with a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory.
A tight first set unfolded into a tiebreak in which Rublev took the lead at 4-3, moving on to convert his second breakpoint at 5-4 next, stealing a 7-4 win.
The World No. 8 strengthen his advantage in the sixth game of the second set, taking a 4-3 lead and controlling play to grab the set and the match.
On Saturday, Rublev will meet World No. 1, Carlos Alcaraz, for the first time in his career. The blockbuster semifinal clash will mark the Spaniard’s debut at the tournament.
Furthermore, the one-off women’s match between world number two Ons Jabeur and 2021 U.S. Open Champion Emma Raducanu brought the first day of competition to an end in style.
Last season, Jabeur made history, becoming the first Arab player to compete and win the MWTC.
On Friday, she accomplished a new feat, winning back-to-back titles in Abu Dhabi by defeating Raducanu 5-7, 6-3 (10-8), once and again, fighting back from a set down to run away with the victory.
On Saturday, the action returns to center court with the fifth-place play-off between Norrie and Coric, followed by the semifinals.
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