Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev secured their spots in the semifinals of the ATP500 Dubai Tennis Championship on Thursday with victories in straight sets.
Twenty two-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic defeated fifth-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 21 minutes to continue his chase for a sixth title in Dubai. The 35-year-old Serbian World No. 1 broke Hurkacz in fourth game of the first set and 11th game of the second set without facing a single break point.
“I think he’s got one of the best serves in the game, so until that 11th game in the second set, I didn’t really have too many chances against his serve,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview, as per atptour.com. “He was winning his service games comfortably. Fortunately for me, I also found the rhythm on my serve throughout the second set and held my serve.
“Love-30 at 5-4 for him, found a couple of good serves, good plays. Really one or two points can always decide [the winner] of matches like this. There’s not much that is separating both players. But I’m really, really glad with the way I played under pressure.”
Top-seeded Djokovic, who is on a 20-match winning streak which began at last year’s ATP Finals, next faces third-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev, who won 6-3, 6-2 against eighth-seeded Croatian Borna Coric, for a place in the final. World No. 7 Medvedev too is on an unbeaten streak of 12 matches which included titles in Rotterdam and Doha in the last two weeks.
Djokovic leads the head-to-head record 9-4 against Medvedev and won 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals of Adelaide International 1 this year, their last meeting.
Seventh-seeded German Zverev won 7-5, 6-4 against World No. 67 Sonego of Italy in an hour and 52 minutes to reach the last-four stage of a tour-level for the first time since he tore three ligaments in his right ankle during last year’s French Open semifinal against eventual champion Rafael Nadal.
Former World No. 2 Zverev broke Sonego once in the 11th game of the first set and fifth game of the second set while saving all six break points he faced on his own serve.
“It’s been a very difficult time for me over, I would say, the last nine months,” said Zverev in his on-court interview. “I haven’t played tennis at all for such a long period for the first time in my life. It definitely shows that the hard work is paying off and I’m extremely happy with my progress and how I’m playing right now.
Zverev, who is playing in Dubai for only the second time in his career, next faces defending champion Andrey Rublev of Russia who beat Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 7-6(3) in their quarterfinal.
Rublev has never beaten Zverev in their five matches on tour. Their last meeting was the 2021 Cincinnati Masters final which the German won 6-2, 6-3.