Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, March 1, 2024


Ugo Humbert saved seven of eight break points dethroning defending Dubai champion Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, to reach his second final of 2024.

Photo credit: Christopher Pike/Getty

Devoted keyboard player Ugo Humbert unwinds from the rigors of the pro tour improvising on hotel pianos.

A masterful Humbert continues conducting chaos on court for Daniil Medvedev.

More: Bublik Into Final as Rublev Defaulted from Dubai

Sliding his lefty serve out wide, Humbert displaced Medvedev then dethroned the defending champion 7-5, 6-3 to charge into his sixth career final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Tuning into the shot-making muse, Humbert saved seven of eight break points defeating the fourth-ranked Medvedev for the third time in four meetings.

The fifth-seeded Humbert improved to 4-3 lifetime vs. Top 5 opponents in a performance he called “perfect.”

“I played the perfect match today, one of my best matches I think,” Humbert said. “It’s never easy to play against Daniil but I was ready to play some rallies.

“With my title at the beginning of the year I had a lot of confidence and I tried to bring everything on court. I played a very great level.”

Marseille champion Humbert snapped Medvedev’s eight-match Dubai winning streak and extended the Russian’s unusual title defense record.

The owner of 20 career titles, Medvedev has never successfully defended an ATP title.

Playing for his second title of the year, Humbert aims to extend his perfect (5-0) finals record facing Alexander Bublik for the first time in tomorrow’s title match.

Earlier, Bublik led 6-7(4), 7-6(5), 6-5 when 2023 finalist Andrey Rublev was defaulted for berating the linesman, allegedly using profanity in Russian.

A stunned Rublev repeatedly denied he spoke Russian during the exchange.

"I was not talking Russian!" Rublev told the referee. "I swear to God. This is a whole mistake. I swear to God."

Trying to lend a helping hand to his buddy, Bublik offered to complete the match.

"I am okay to continue," Bublik said.

"The match is over," the referee replied.

And with that ruling, a tense two hour, 26-minute battle was over sending Bublik into his 11th ATP Final.

Using the quick Dubai court to his advantage, Humbert knocked off compatriot Gael Monfils, former No. 1 Andy Murray and third-seeded Hubert Hurkacz in succession en route to tonight’s semifinal where repeatedly dragged Medvedev wide out of the sidelines on the ad side of the court.

Cracking the ball with confidence, Humbert was working the width of the court as he saved a break point holding for 2-1.

Racing with his bace net, Medvedev conjured a sensational tweener lob that handcuffed Humbert at net. That piece of magic helped the defending champion hold to level after four games.

The French left hander threatened again in the sixth game. A stubborn Medvedev staved off three break points to even the set, 3-all.

Throughout much of the opening set, the Humbert forehand was the most imposing shot on the court.

The lanky Frenchman did a fine job of running around his backhand, lashing a crackling forehand for a set point in the 12th game.

Reading back, Medvedev slammed a big serve down the middle, drew the mid-court ball he wanted, but completely bungled the forehand sitter sending it long. That miscue gave Humbert the 61-minute set.

The 18th-ranked Humbert rapped eight more winners—20 to 12—than Medvedev in the first set, including firing 15 forehand winners.

The three-time Australian Open finalist scattered a crosscourt backhand to drop his opening serve of the second set. Humbert snatched his fourth consecutive game for a 2-0 lead.

Eighty-two minutes into the match, Medvedev amped up the pace of his drives. The pair engaged in a pulsating baseline exchange ending with Medvedev rattling out a forehand error and pumping his racquet in the air breaking back for 1-2.

Medvedev backed up the break at love to even the set.

Defending with vigor, Medvedev dragged a backhand pass crosscourt earning triple break point in the seventh game. Humber refused to wilt, denying all three break points.

On the strength of outrageous defending, Medvedev drew a netted forehand for another break point but could not handle the wide serve. By then, Humbert had fought off seven of eight break points holding for 4-3.

Haunted by lost opportunity, Medvedev faced break point in the eighth game. Pouncing on a second serve, Humbert banged a backhand return right down the middle forcing the error to break for 5-3.

A frustrated Medvedev was miming misgivings to his coach, Gilles Simon, while Humbert focused on finishing.

Serving for his second final of the season, the Frenchman drew an errant forehand for match point.

Slinging his lefty hook serve out wide, Humbert defended a down the line return and coaxed one final error to end it.

Deposing the defending champion, the fifth-seeded Humbert will face the seventh-seeded Bublik for the first time.


Latest News