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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Wednesday, February 28, 2024


Defending champion Daniil Medvedev rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Lorenzo Sonego to score his seventh straight Dubai victory.

Photo credit: Kelly DeFina/Getty

Displaced into obscurity way behind the baseline, Daniil Medvedev streaked all the way toward net shoveling a forehand pass winner.

Closing gaps with confidence, Medvedev subdued Lorenzo Sonego 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 to score his seventh straight Dubai victory.

Medvedev: Why I Hired Simon

Bidding to defend a tournament title for the first time in his career, Medvedev advanced to his second straight Dubai quarterfinal where he awaits either 18-year-old Czech sensation Jakub Mensik or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a semifinal spot.

The top-seeded Medvedev turned today’s match around serving with more command as the match progressed. In his second match with new coach Gilles Simon in his corner, Medvedev won 22 of 26 first-serve points over the final two sets.

Though Medvedev is known for his baseline brilliance, he showed his more assertive side at times today.

The 2021 US Open champion closed well on several Sonego drop volleys and showed competence around net. Medvedev won 21 of 27 trips to net.

Italian Davis Cup hero Sonego surged out to a 3-1 lead.

Dipping a low pass at the Italian’s shoelaces, Medvedev earned triple break point. The Australian Open finalist broke back at love for 2-3 when Sonego botched a volley.

Still, Medvedev wasn’t doing damage with first serve on the fast court. Sonego launched himself into a forehand winner for double break point. The lanky Italian broke again on a Medvedev error for 4-2.

Raking a sharp crosscourt forehand behind the former world No. 1, Sonego confirmed the break for 5-2.

Credit a stubborn Medvedev for saving six set points in a demanding high-wire act hold for 3-5.

Medvedev shifted the pressure to Sonego’s shoulders and the Italian responded.

The world No. 48 withstood four break points, converting his ninth set point in the longest game of the match to build a one-set lead.

Tennis Express

As the second-set progressed, Medvedev was finding the range on first serve and striking with more self-assurance.

The top seed sped three 12 of the final 13 points of the second set to force a third set.

Unleashing his third love hold in his last four service games, Medvedev evened the final set after two games.

Reading the Italian’s serve better, Medvedev was smothering Sonego in baseline exchanges. Trying to shorten the point, Sonego tried the serve-and-volley. Medvedev was about nine feet behind the baseline when he struck his return, but he streaked up to a short volley shoveling a forehand pass to break for 3-2.

The defending champion consolidated at 15 for 4-2.

Cutting off the angle of a slice serve, Medvedev swatted a forehand return pass that eluded serve-and-volleyer Sonego for match point.

When Sonego’s final forehand sailed long, Medvedev was through to the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Medvevev beat Sonego for the third time in as many meetings, improving to 8-1 in 2024.

Earlier, American Sebastian Korda crushed Botic van de Zandschulp 6-1, 6-0, in 43 minutes

Korda cracked 10 aces against one double fault cruising through 11 consecutive games to beat the Dutchman for the second time in four meetings.

World No. 33 Korda is into his second quarterfinal of the season where he will play hard-hitting Andrey Rublev next.

The second-seeded Rublev won 31 of 38 first-serve points stopping French qualifier Arthur Cazaux 6-4, 6-4.

The 2023 Dubai finalist Rublev swept Korda in straight sets in last month’s Australian Open third round.

Fifth-seeded French left-hander Ugo Humbert did not face a break point defeating former No. 1 Andy Murray 6-2, 6-4.

Marseille champion Humbert is into his third quarterfinal of the season.


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