Arab ace Malek Jaziri continues surprise run to march into Dubai semifinals

Arab ace Malek Jaziri continues surprise run to march into Dubai semifinals
Malek Jaziri is the first Arab to get to the semifinals in Dubai since 2002
Updated 01 March 2018

Arab ace Malek Jaziri continues surprise run to march into Dubai semifinals

Arab ace Malek Jaziri continues surprise run to march into Dubai semifinals

DUBAI: Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri continued his surprise run at the Dubai Championships by beating Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the last four.
The 34-year-old wildcard will next face third seed Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat Croatian Borna Coric 7-6, 6-4, in the semifinals
Jaziri overcame a second-set blip to see off qualifier Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and reach the third semifinal of his career.
Jaziri, who began his week by knocking out world No.4 Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, is the first Arab player to get this far in Dubai since Moroccan Younes El-Aynaoui in 2002, who reached the final before losing to France’s Fabrice Santoro.
The world number 117 is now just one win away from reaching his first-ever ATP Tour final.
“It was a big fight today, not that easy at all,” Jaziri said.
“I finished very late yesterday. I think I was in bed at 2:30, so I didn’t sleep a lot.
“I tried to recover the most, I had to get ready today. It wasn’t easy, i had less than 17 hours.
“I was up and down little bit today. But I’m happy to win this match.”
Even before the match Jaziri said his shock run in Dubai had struck a blow for tennis across the Arab world.
“I was hearing the cheers from a lot of young Arab kids and after I won I saw how happy they all were for me,” he told Sport360 after his victory over top seed Dimitrov.
“I hope that this can show them that us Arabs can compete with and defeat the best players in the world, as long we work hard for it.”
Ranked 117 in the world, Jaziri has been given a wildcard for the tournament at The Aviation Club for the past six years and, as a result, usually faces one of the world’s big guns in the opening round. In 2013 he managed to take a set off the great Roger Federer.
“I feel so good here in Dubai,” he said. “They gave me a lot of opportunities in the past, like with wildcards. I got a lot of experience, playing top guys here in Dubai. I played last year against Andy Murray, the year before Novak Djokovic, five years ago I played Roger Federer as well. In Dubai, I only played top seeds. I knew one day it would happen (and I would get the win).”