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Djokovic to face Medvedev in Dubai semis, Rublev gets Zverev

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MARCH 02: Novak Djokovic of Serbia competes with Hubert Hurkacz of Poland (not seen) during men’s single quarter final match of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 02, 2023. (Photo by Waleed Zein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Top-ranked Novak Djokovic beat Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 7-5 and will face former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals at the Dubai Championships.

The five-time Dubai champion’s 20th straight victory set the stage for a last-four match against Medvedev, who defeated Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2 in the nightcap at the hard-court tournament.

“I’m playing good right now but when you play Novak, Novak is always the favorite,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview. “He’s playing great, moving great. I always had some good fights with him, so I’m hoping for my best shape tomorrow because that’s the only way to beat him.”

Djokovic is playing in his first event since winning the Australian Open for his record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam singles title. The 35-year-old Serb had a partially torn hamstring when he captured his 10th title at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic improved to 15-0 this season and hasn’t lost since dropping the Paris Masters final to Holger Rune last November. He followed that up by winning the ATP Finals title in Turin.

Defending Dubai champion Andrey Rublev will face Alexander Zverev in the other semifinal match.

Rublev advanced by defeating Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 7-6 (3). Zverev topped Lorenzo Sonego 7-5, 6-4.

It will be Zverev’s first semifinal since the French Open last June, when he injured his right ankle while playing against Rafael Nadal. He underwent surgery days later to repair torn ligaments.

“It’s been a very difficult time for me the last, I would say, nine months,” the 25-year-old German, who was the runner-up at the 2020 U.S. Open, said in his on-court interview. “The hard work is paying off and I’m extremely happy with what the progress is and how I’m playing right now.”

Rublev, a 25-year-old Russian who is ranked No. 6, reached the semifinals for the third straight year.