Dubai Tennis Championships: Tsitsipas, Djokovic make semis

Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff to set up a semifinal clash against Dan Evans, while Novak Djokovic cruised past Karen Khachanov.

Second seed Tsitsipas claimed a seventh successive win after a two-hour and 23-minute duel.   -  TWITTER(@DDFTENNIS)

Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday to set up a Dubai Championships semifinal against Dan Evans.

The two-hour and 23-minute duel, which allowed Greek second seed Tsitsipas to claim a seventh successive win, set the day's programme at the Aviation Club back by more than an 90 minutes.

It followed another lengthy struggle as Evans upset sixth seed Andrey Rublev 6-2, 7-6 (11/9) to reach the fourth ATP semifinal of his career.

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Tsitsipas trailed throughout most of the match against the 34th-ranked Struff, only taking the statistical lead late in the third set with a break for 5-4 which set up his victory.

“I was struggling with my return today, I don't know what was wrong with it,” Tsitsipas said.

“I couldn't really find enough space to get that right momentum to hit the ball, that was the biggest struggle today.

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“I'm actually pretty proud that I fought so hard, played with attention when I had to. When I got the break in the third set I knew that was my time to close the match now. I did it in perfect style.”

Tsitsipas is defending his runners-up points from last year when he lost the final to Roger Federer.

He arrived in Dubai after winning the Marseille trophy at the weekend.

-Novak breezes past Khachanov-

Novak Djokovic won his 16th match of an undefeated season, hammering Russia's Karen Khachanov 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday for a place in the Dubai Championships semifinals.

The world number one, playing in the UAE for an 11th time, will face either third seed Gael Monfils or Richard Gasquet for a place in the final.

It will be four-time champion Djokovic's ninth appearance in the Dubai semifinals.

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The top seed also tightened his grip on the world number one ranking in the face of competition at this week's Acapulco event from second-ranked rival Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic, who has yet to drop a set in Dubai this year, needed just 68 minutes to beat Dubai-based Khachanov for the third time in four meetings.

“The wind was even stronger today on the court, changing directions all the time. It was really, really tough to get the rhythm for the serve,” Djokovic said.

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“Karen made a lot of unforced errors, which obviously made my life easier especially in the first set to go up 5-1, two breaks.

“From my end it was a solid performance. I moved well in the defence. I was using the variety, the dropshots, always making him guess what is coming next. That was the goal obviously.”

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