2 March 2017 -- Dubai, UAE: Fernando Verdasco claimed the latest upset at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, beating fourth seed Gael Monfils 6-3 7-5 to set up a semi-final clash with Robin Haase. His powerful forehand always kept Monfils under pressure and his more consistent play earned the Spaniard his first win over Monfils in four meetings. After winning the first set in some comfort Verdasco took a 3-2 lead in the second when Monfils double-faulted, but was broken at love as he served for victory at 5-4. Another break though gave Verdasco a further opportunity to serve out the match.
"I think I played almost perfect match," said Verdasco. "I mean, maybe I could be a little bit more aggressive on my serve, but of course if I look more for an aggressive serve, my percentage will go down and play with second serves, and I think against him, playing with second serves, I will be like defending on many points. So I bet more for a big percentage on the first serve and tried to play with my forehand as much as possible. You know, like very happy, I think, like really complete match, in general, in all the ways that you can imagine."
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Haase followed up his victory over fifth seed Tomas Berdych by beating defending champion Stan Wawrinka's conqueror, Damir Dzumhur, 6-2 4-6 6-4. Dzumhur made too many unforced errors in the first set, but he steadied in the second and Haase felt he failed to maintain his standards of the opening set.
"He made less errors, but also I played less deep and less aggressive. I think it's always a combination of the two," said Haase. "He's known for not giving you anything, so I knew it was going to be a tough match, although after the first set I was, like, okay, could be easier than I thought. But in the second set I think it was a few shots where he took the advantage."
"Everyone who has reached this far in the tournament has been playing exceptional tennis throughout this week and we offer them our best wishes as they continue their efforts to lift the trophy in this, our 25th anniversary year," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free, the tournament owners and organisers. "After the upsets we have seen this week it would take a brave person to predict who that winner will be."
Tournament director Salah Tahlak added, "We have seen matches of the highest quality every day of this remarkable week, with several players exceeding expectations as they overcame some of the tournament favourites. We can expect more excitement as the tournament moves towards its climax."
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which concludes on 4th March, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free, and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.