Federer two victories away from 100th title

CLASSY: Swiss great Roger Federer returns during his win over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics. AFP

Roger Federer advanced to the semifinals of the Dubai Championships on Thursday, beating Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (8/6), 6-4 to move closer to a 100th career title.

The Swiss star, who is also chasing an eighth trophy in the emirate, plays either Croatia’s Borna Coric or Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia for a place in the final.

Stefanos Tsitsipas moved into the last four after coming through a gruelling quarterfinal encounter with Hubert Hurkacz to win 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (1/7), 6-1 and set up a meeting with Gael Monfils.

The Greek had to dig deep to get past Hurkacz, who knocked out top seed Kei Nishikori in the second round, going the distance in the first two sets and being broken when serving for the match, before seeing off the world number 77 after more than two-and-a-quarter hours.

“The breaks I got in the third set refreshed my mind. I was able to raise my level,” Tsitsipas said.

“I knew that if I kept fighting, more chances would come -- and they did.”

Frenchman Monfils will return to the world top 20 on Monday after battling into the semifinals with a 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2 win over qualifier Ricardas Berankis.

Unseeded Monfils, 32, revealed that he needed to get angry with himself to get over the line after missing chances to close out a straight-set victory when a set up and leading the second 5-4.

“It was tough mentally, I was upset that I didn’t finish it (then). I had to get angry to find the energy to come back,” he said after coming from a break down to storm the final set. “I was playing flat, I knew I had to do something. “My opponent was very brave, he went for his shots, came to the net and made it difficult.”

Monfils’ performance dipped drastically after ripping through the opening set in 23 minutes, losing the second and rediscovering his game only just in time to claim the victory.

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Federer two victories away from 100th title

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