Philipp Kohlschreiber booked his seat in the semi-finals of the US$ 4 million Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships by ending wildcard Malek Jaziri’s dream run to the quarter-finals in 1 hour and 11 minutes by the scoreline of 6-2, 6-3.
The 32-player field had been reduced to a quarter of its strength by Thursday and one name that stood out among the last eight men standing had been that of wildcard Malek Jaziri.
Jaziri, the top-ranked Arab player, notched his first two wins on the tour of the season against Igor Sijsling and Somdev Devvarman in the first and second rounds, respectively. Kohlschreiber took out Netherland’s de Bakker and Italian Andreas Seppi on his path to the quarter-finals.
The number seven seed started out strong under the blistering sun at 3 pm on Centre Court. He broke the Tunisian’s serve at love and won the first three games of the match to gain an upper hand. The crafty one-hander dominated from the baseline and attacked Jaziri’s serve as often as possible. That strategy paid dividends as he broke again to close out the first set 6-2.
In the second set, Jaziri hung along with Kohlschreiber till 3-4, when he called for the trainer because of dizziness. His serve soon gave in too and Kohlschreiber then served the match out with ease.
“My key was always to move him around a lot. He was playing quite defensive, especially on the backhand side. I was very solid from the baseline. I took the chances, you know, tried to be aggressive,” Kohlschreiber said in his post-match press conference.
This is Kohlschreiber’s 300th win on the tour and his first semi-final in Dubai in six appearances. He will next play the winner of the match between Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Kohlschreiber has a 1-7 record against Berdych and a 1-6 record against Tsonga.
Kohlschreiber, familiar with these head-to-head stats, said “It’s going to be very tough. I (have to) try to have to do something different, I think. I have to try to dictate the game. Otherwise, you know, if they push me around, I think they are too powerful. I (have) lost against both players, so I have to do something different.”
Novak Djokovic, scheduled to play third on Centre Court against Mikhail Youzhny, got a walkover into Friday’s semi-finals when the latter withdrew due to illness. Djokovic awaits the winner of the Roger Federer versus Lukas Rosol match.Published 27 Feb 2014, 22:41 IST