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Tsitsipas vs Monfils ATP Dubai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Tsitsipas one win away from top-ten breakthrough, but could fatigue be a factor against Monfils?

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 1 Mar 2019
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Gael Monfils is live from Dubai on Friday, 1 March from 5:00pm local time/ 1:00pm GMT
  • Tsitsipas and Monfils are level at 1-1 on head-to-head
Stefanos Tsitsipas. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gael Monfils put their respective winning streaks on the line on Friday as they battle for a spot in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Tsitsipas is on a seven-match winning streak, following his title run in Marseille last week, while Monfils has won his last eight matches, dating back to his success in Rotterdam a couple of weeks ago. The Frenchman was scheduled to play in Marseille last week but unsurprisingly withdrew.

Hence, Monfils should be the fresher of the two players heading into Friday's match, as Tsitsipas will be playing his seventh match in eight days, having had to fly between Marseille and Dubai somewhere in between. The Greek young gun remains on course for his maiden ATP 500 title, which would be the biggest of his career should he manage to pick up two more wins in Dubai. His two titles so far- Stockholm last year and the aforementioned Marseille success have come at ATP 250 level. He made a 500 final last season (in Barcelona), as well as a Masters 1000 final, in Toronto, but he lost both to Rafael Nadal. Those two tournaments were part of the highlights of a superb 2018, during which he rose from outside the top 90 to end at No. 15 in the world. And if he beats Monfils on Friday, he will rise into the top-ten for the first time in his career.

Tsitsipas is contesting his third semi-final of the season, having sensationally made the last four at the Australian Open, beating Roger Federer along the way, before losing to Nadal; and also in Marseille, where he went on to claim the title. There was a brief lull in results just after the Australian Open, when the 20-year-old appeared to suffer from the hangover from such a physically and emotionally draining run in Melbourne- he won just one match in his next two tournaments in Sofia and Rotterdam- but he has been back to his best over the last week and a half, winning Marseille, and now making the semis in Dubai.

Tsitsipas has had to work very hard for his spot in the last four, opening with a three-set win over Matthew Ebden before easing past Belarusian qualifier, Egor Gerasimov for the loss of just four games in the second round. He was tested again by fellow Next Gen star Hubert Hurkacz, but his extra quality showed down the stretch, as he pulled away in the final set after the pair had split two extremely competitive and highly entertaining sets. In the end, Tsitsipas greater potency on serve and off the ground, as well as his superior athleticism proved to be the difference between the two players. He would have been gutted at not closing out the match earlier, as he led by a set and 3-1, but he got broken while serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, before losing the set on a tie break. However, he responded brilliantly, polishing off a 7-6 6-7 6-1 victory.

“It was frustrating,” said Tsitsipas. “But I knew that the crowd enjoyed the match. They probably wanted to stay a bit longer.”


Just like Tsitsipas, Gael Monfils had the chance to make quicker work of Lithuanian qualifier, Ricardas Berankis in his own quarter final match, but he also lost his serve while trying to close out the match in the second set, and quickly found himself down a break in the deciding set. However, from 1-2 down in the third, he reeled off six straight games to ease to victory.

Gael Monfils. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
The Frenchman had outclassed Berankis in a dominant first set, producing some characteristic outrageous shot-making as he took it 6-1, but Berankis offered more resistance in the second set, playing with more aggression from the back of the court, and moving forward a lot more often. Still, Monfils earned the chance to serve for the match at 5-4, he lost his way for a while, dropping his serve, and then the tie break, before trailing by an early break in the third. The world No. 23 addressed the problem swiftly, reasserting himself to pull off a 6-1 6-7 6-1 victory. It was his second three-set win of the week, as he had beaten Marin Cilic 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the first round before easing past Marcos Baghdatis 6-3 6-2 in the second round.

Monfils has had his injury problems over the years, and the 2019 season began on that very familiar note as he missed the opening weeks of the year due to a thigh complaint. He eventually started his season at the Australian Open, where he lost to Taylor Fritz in the second round, but he been on an impressive upward trajectory since then, reaching the semi-finals in Sofia, winning the title in Rotterdam, and now advancing to a third semi-final in as many ATP World Tour events in Dubai.

The 32-year-old has been playing with renewed focus and confidence under new coach, Liam Smith, and will be rewarded with a return to the top 20 on Monday- the first time he would be in that group since July 2017. Can he beat Tsitsipas on Friday to extend his current winning streak?

Monfils and Tsitsipas have split their two previous matches, with Monfils winning in the Sofia quarter finals earlier this year in response to Tsitsipas' victory in Toronto last season. 

“We’re both serving really well,” said Tsitsipas. “We have similar game style. I guess, I'm a bit more aggressive than him, but he's much faster. 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.”

He sums it up well, Tsitsipas. There really isn't much to choose between the two. Monfils is the more athletic player, but Tsitsipas also covers the court very well, while the Greek is the naturally more aggressive player, but Monfils can step it up big time when he really wants to. That's probably one of the most frustrating aspects of the Frenchman's game as he has the power and the shot-making skills to dominate opponents, but often adopts a more conservative approach.

Like I said earlier, Tsitsipas has been playing a lot of tennis in the last week and a half, and will be pushed very close to his physical limits in what should be a grueling encounter against Monfils. His best chance of winning is to go on the offensive and close this one out early, as the longer the match goes, the more advantageous it becomes to Monfils.

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Gael Monfils is live from Dubai on Friday, 1 March from 5:00pm local time/ 1:00pm GMT

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Tsitsipas vs Monfils ATP Dubai Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Tsitsipas one win away from top-ten breakthrough, but could fatigue be a factor against Monfils?

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gael Monfils meet in the Dubai semi-finals on Friday. Who will win this battle of in-form players? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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