ATP Dubai Tennis Championships: Seeded victories overshadowed by 39-minute blitz

WHILE five of the six seeds in action made their way into the Dubai Tennis Championships quarter finals in a predictable day of action, their games were overshadowed by a stunning performance from German, Jan-Lennard Struff.

The world number 34 has always been considered a difficult opponent to play – he even took a set off Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open which rarely happens prior to the last few matches – but no-one saw what he did to Nikoloz Basilashvili, coming. Basilashvili is ranked 29th in the world and is certainly capable on the court having won three titles in his career, including one in Hamburg last year. But Struff produced one of the near-perfect performances you will see, smashing his higher ranked opponent in just 39 minutes. The 6-1 6-0 victory was as comprehensive as it gets, dropping just one point off his first serve and six in total on-serve. He also won 13 of 17 points off Basilashvili’s second serve, and 64 per cent of his return points total on his way to only dropping 20 points for the entire match. He converted five breaks from nine chances and did not even give the Georgian a look-in, pounding down seven aces and now doubt giving second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas – his next opponent – something to think about.

Speaking of Tsitsipas, he moved through to the quarter finals with a 7-6 6-4 win over Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, while Djokovic barely got out of second gear with a regulation 6-3 6-1 victory against German, Philipp Kohlschreiber. He now faces seventh seed Russian, Karen Khachanov who downed Austrian qualifier, Dennis Novak in straight sets, while French third seed Gael Monfils also breezed through with a win against a qualifier – Japan’s Yasutaka Uchiyama – 6-1 6-2.

In other results, sixth seed Russian Alexander Rublev defeated Serbian Filip Krajinovic with a blitzing second set after a tough first one, 7-6 6-0 to take on Brit, Dan Evans in the next round. Evans won in a tight one, 7-5 3-6 7-6 over Pierre-Hugues Herbert as the deciding set tiebreaker went all the way to 9-7 before the world number 37 triumphed. In the final result of the day, Richard Gasquet defeated compatriot and eighth seed Benoit Paire 6-4 6-4 to face yet another compatriot in Monfils.


[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) defeated P. Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-3 6-1
[2] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated A. Bublik (KAZ) 7-6 6-4
[3] G. Monfils (FRA) defeated [Q] Y. Uchiyama (JPN) 6-1 6-2
[6] A. Rublev (RUS) defeated F. Krajinovic (SRB) 7-6 6-0
[7] K. Khachanov (RUS) defeated [Q] D. Novak (AUT) 6-3 6-4
R. Gasquet (FRA) defeated [8] B. Paire (FRA) 6-4 6-4
D. Evans (GBR) defeated P. Herbert (FRA) 7-5 3-6 7-6
J. Struff (GER) defeated N. Basilashvili (GEO) 6-1 6-0

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