Monfils, Tsitsipas win to set up semi-final showdown in Dubai
In-form duo Gael Monfils and Stefanos Tsitsipas will meet in the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships while Roger Federer is also through to the last four in the United Arab Emirates.
After winning his eighth ATP Tour title in Rotterdam, Monfils defeated qualifier Ricardas Berankis 6-1 6-7 (3-7) 6-2 to make sure he will return to the top 20 in the world rankings for the first time since July 2017.
Monfils breezed through the opener but Berankis hit back in the second, prevailing in a see-saw tie-break that the Lithuanian claimed by taking four points on the spin.
He also recorded an early break of serve in the decider to lead 2-1 yet failed to win another game, Monfils eventually triumphing after one hour and 55 minutes on court.
Tsitsipas, crowned champion at the Open 13 Marseille last Sunday, made it seven wins in a row with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (1-7) 6-1 result against Hubert Hurkacz.
The Greek was a set and 3-1 up but was taken the distance by Hurkacz, appearing in his first quarter-final on the ATP Tour after knocking out Kei Nishikori in the previous round.
However, Tsitsipas won the first five games in the decider on his way to setting up a showdown with Monfils – and he expects a tough encounter against a player who is at the top of his game right now.
"We have similar game style. I guess, I'm a bit more aggressive than him, but he's much faster," the fifth seed said of Monfils.
"I'm going to have to deal with all of that, be patient, play with passion as well, just wait for the opportunities to break him. I think I'm going to have to serve well."
In the other half of the draw, Federer was once again forced to work hard to keep alive his quest to secure a 100th ATP title.
Taken to three sets in his previous two outings, Federer came close to falling behind against Marton Fucsovics – who had two set-point opportunities in a tie-break – but eventually won 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in a match twice delayed by rain.
The Swiss will next face Borna Coric, who rounded out Thursday's action by rallying from a set down to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-1).