Medvedev Inches Closer to Retain Title in Dubai, Secures SFs Spot
Daniil Medvedev celebrates victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Dubai. February 29, 2024. Photo courtesy: Dubai Duty Free Championships.

Defending champion Daniil Medvedev toppled eighth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets to secure his semifinal spot at the Dubai Duty Free Championships on Thursday, keeping his chances alive to achieve a new career feat, retaining a title for the first time on tour.

World number four Daniil Medvedev displayed a consistent performance to take down Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2, 6-3 in 77 minutes, earning his spot in the last four for the second consecutive year at the ATP 500 on Thursday.

Alejandro can play very well,” the top seed asserted after their quarterfinal encounter.

Sometimes during matches, he can have a little down moment, and then he goes up. I knew that no matter the score, I needed to go until the last point.

Adding: “The second set at one moment got a bit tighter, but I managed to stay there and win some more games, and it was enough to win.”

The 28-year-old from Moscow has set a semifinal contest against in-form Frenchman Ugo Humbert, who rallied to overcome World No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 7-6(8), 6-3 in a two-hour, 24-minute thriller, in which he saved three match points during the second set tiebreak in style.

In his on-court interview, Humbert shared his thoughts about the clash against Medvedev on Friday.

It will be a great challenge against Daniil. We played a couple of times, and they were great games,” commented the 25-year-old.

I need to rest a little bit, but then I will be ready to go again.

Elsewhere, 2023 runner-up Andrey Rublev progressed to the semifinals following Sebastian Korda’s withdrawal in the second set due to injury.

At the time, the second seed was up 6-4, 4-3 against the American player, a challenging match due to the windy conditions the players experienced.

When it’s these conditions, the tennis is always not that beautiful,” stressed the World No. 5, who sealed his place in the event’s semifinals for a fourth straight time.

I hope there is nothing serious with Sebastian, and he will be ready for Indian Wells 100 percent.”

Rublev, who in 2022 took the crown in Dubai, will next face Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, whose rival, Czech Jiri Lehecka, was also forced to retire due to injury when the score favored the Open Sud de France-Montpellier champion 6-4, 4-1.

Medvedev has captured each of his 20 tour-level titles at different events, becoming a major champion at the US Open in 2021.

The former world number one has never been able to retain a title at any of the tournaments where he has triumphed.

In Dubai, he continues his quest to lift the same trophy twice for the first time in his career.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is the first event he plays since losing at the Australian Open final to World No. 3 Jannik Sinner in an epic five-setter.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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