Humbert hunts down Hubi in Dubai upset

FRENCH fifth seed Ugo Humbert continued her fantastic recent ATP Tour form by defeating third seed Pole, Hubert Hurkacz to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships semi-finals. The 25-year-old currently sits at his career-high 18th in the world, and is on the verge of rising futher.

Humbert is level on points with 17th ranked Frances Tiafoe, and with the American bowing out yesterday in the Round of 16 at Acapulco, the Frenchman just need to win his semi-final to leapfrog him. He will not be the only one though, with Humber also able to move past another couple of Americans in Tommy Paul and Ben Shelton with just 30 ATP Tour points separating the quartet.

The quarter final against Hurkacz was the third time the pair has faced off this year, with the Polish talent winning at the Australian Open after being a set down to make it a 3-0 head-to-head. However since then, Humbert has won at both Marseille and now Dubai to make it a much closer 2-3. The world number 18 of course went on to win Marseille.

In the most recent clash between the pair, Hurkacz won the first set 6-3, before Humbert steadied to win 3-6 7-6 6-3 in two hours and 24 minutes in Dubai. In the opening set, Humbert won just two points off Hurkacz’ serve in what was a ridiculous display by the 196cm Pole.

Humbert started to make inroads in the second set, at least winning nine of 12 points off Hurkacz’s serve, while converting his first break, having six chances in the set. Hurkacz still arguably played better hitting six more winners (15-9) with the same amount of unforced errors (seven), but Humbert managed to stand up in the tiebreaker to win it in an epic 10-8 encounter.

By the deciding set, Humbert was in top gear, winning 68 per cent of his first serve points off an 83 per cent clip, and winning all of his second serve points. He saved both break point opportunities off his serve, and converted two of five off his opponent’s serve. Though he hit two less winners (7-9), Humbert only hit two unforced errors for the entire set, an incredible effort.

In the end, Hurkacz hit more winners (26-24), had less unforced errors (15-18), won more points (106-96) and had a higher serving percentage overall, but it was not enough. Against the odds, Humbert hung in there and came away with the win, built off a gritty second set tiebreak.

Unfortunately for Humbert, if he wants to rise up the rankings, he will have to do so by beating top seed and Grand Slam champion, Daniil Medvedev in the semi-final. Medvedev took care of Spanish eighth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina rather easily, 6-2 6-3.

There were two retirements in the two other semi-finals with both American Sebastian Korda and Czech Jiri Lehecka stepping away midway through the second set. In both cases, the players were trailing their opponents, with second seed Andrey Rublev beating Korda 6-4 4-3, and seventh seed Alexander Bublik winning 6-4 4-1 over Lehecka.


[1] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) defeated [8] Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 6-2 6-3
[2] Andrey Rublev (RUS) defeated Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-4 4-3 RET
[5] Ugo Humbert (FRA) defeated [3] Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 3-6 7-6 6-3
[7] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) defeated Jiri Lehecka (CZE) 6-4 4-1 RET

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