Alexander Zverev at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.


Dubai tennis: Zverev to face Rublev in semis

Alexander Zverev will face defending champion Andrey Rublev in an exciting semi-final clash at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday (March 3).

Zverev zipped into the semis with an assured victory over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego on Thursday (March 2). The tall German, seeded seventh in Dubai this week, sent off Sonego 7-5, 6-4.

Sonego, who beat fourth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets in round two, burst out of the blocks racing to a 0-40 score on Zverev’s service game.

However, Olympic gold medallist Zverev, who is still making his way back after tearing ankle ligaments at last year’s French Open, battled back and the opening exchanges went with serve before Zverev assumed control.

Utilising his height, range and reach, he dealt well with World No.67 Sonego’s serve to grab a decisive break in game 11, before holding to take the set.

Set two played out in similar fashion, with Zverev breaking in game five to edge into a 3-2 lead.

Sonego, a three-time winner on the ATP Tour, was not going down without a fight though and, with Zverev serving for the match, the Italian raced to a 0-40 lead. Yet it was not quite enough as World No.16 Zverev clawed his way back, winning five straight points, including an ace on the final point, to book his spot in the final four.

“It’s been a difficult period over the past nine months, not playing tennis for such a long period in my life, but today shows the hard work is paying off and I’m pretty happy with what the progress is and how I’m playing,” said Zverev. “I’m happy to be in my first semi-final since June, hopefully it won’t be my last.

“I’ve just had to go back to basics and remember what I can control and that is my serve – the only shot in tennis you can control. It obviously helps that I hit five first serves in a row then the match was over.” ICA/Expat Media

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