18-year old Borna Coric of Croatia ruffled lots of feathers at Dubai on Thursday, when he upset no.3 seed Andy Murray to reach the semifinals of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The teenager also wrote his name in tournament history books as the first teenager ever to enter the round of four. The Croat didn’t have to work too hard against world no.4 Murray and yielded just 4 games in his 79 minute victory over the Scot. The day also saw no. 1 seed Novak Djokovic booking his place in the last four along with 6-time champion and no.2 seed Roger Federer. The victories for the tournament’s top two players came in contrasting styles. While Djokovic lost only two games in literally throwing away Marsel Ilhan of Turkey; Roger Federer coasted to the semifinal, when his quarterfinal opponent, Richard Gasquet couldn’t continue after the first set due to spasmodic pain in his lower back. Joining Coric, Djokovic and Federer in the semifinals was Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Berdych took three sets before overcoming a challenge from Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky. In the two semifinals on Friday, Roger Federer will play Borna Coric while Novak Djokovic will meet Tomas Berdych.
In a shocking upset on Thursday, Croatian teenager outplayed Scotsman Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3 to announce his arrival on the big tennis canvas. Last year, the Croat had created rumbling noises during the Swiss Indoor tournament at Basel, when he shocked the great Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. With his unexpected victory over Murray, Coric has approached a parallel with the Spaniard, who won the Dubai Duty-free in 2006 as a 19-year old. Entering the competition at Dubai as a Lucky loser, Borna Coric didn’t show nerves in his match against Murray and won 89 percent of his first service points. He showed sound judgment in his court movements and converted 4 out of 8 break-points on offer. The Croat lived up to his reputation of the 2014 ATP Star of Tomorrow Award Presented by Emirates recently and ran away with his match with a 6-1, 6-3 victory in 79 minutes. Coric also benefitted from Murray’s unusually high 55 unforced errors. To create a bigger piece of history, Coric will have to get past Roger Federer on Friday for the place in the final.
Federer didn’t have go through the full quarterfinal match against Richard Gasquet on Thursday as the Frenchman was overcome by pain in his lower back after the two players finished the first set, which Federer had taken at 6-1 in just 20 minutes, benefitting from Gasquet’s heavily curtailed movements on court.
In the other quarterfinal, Novak Djokovic was relentless against Marsel Ilhan of Turkey. The four-time champion dismissed the World No. 104 Turkish player 6-1, 6-1 in a match that was too one-sided for description. It was the Serbian’s ninth Dubai quarter-final and he extended his Dubai record to 33-4. In his 49-minute match with Ilhan, Djokovic sent down 7 aces, saved all the three break points that he faced and won 85 per cent of his first serve points. For a place in the final, Djokovic will meet Czech Republic’s Tomas Berdych next.
Berdych faced Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhvosky in his quarterfinal match that went to three sets before the Czech defeated the Ukrainian 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. The 4th seed broke Stakhvosky’s serve twice in the first set and twice again in the third but the Ukrainian pegged him back in a tightly-contested second. But once that hurdle was crossed, the Czech played with authority in third set.
A few weeks after they defeated the world’s top doubles team at the Australian Open quarterfinals, Dominic Inglot and Florin Mergea repeated the act in Dubai quarterfinal match as well. The British/Romanian duo couldn’t break the Bryans even once in the 80-minute match but they yielded super performance in both tiebreaks and that made all the difference as they scored a 7-6, 2-6, 10-8 win over the Americans. Inglot/Mergea will now meet Aisam Quereshi/Nenad Zimonjic in the semifinals. Quereshi/Zimonjic reached semifinals with an easy 6-1, 6-2 victory over Jeremy Chardy/Lukas Rosol. In other doubles matches, second seeds Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau defeated Robert Lindstedt/Marcin Matkowski 6-4, 5-7, 10-7. In the semifinal Rojer/Tecau will play Rohan Bopanna/Daniel Nestor, who came through by beating qualifiers Jamie Murray/John Peers 6-4, 7-5.