Barclays Dubai Championships gallery, Day 4
Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:30
Its quarter-final day in Dubai and the first man through to the semis was third seed Gilles Simon after he won an all-French clash in the opening match on Centre Court on Thursday.
Later on he was joined in the last four by top seed Novak Djokovic, Spain’s David Ferrer and another Frenchman, Richard Gasquet, who went through without having to hit a ball after the shock withdrawal of second seed Andy Murray.
In Friday’s semi-finals Djokovic will take on Simon while Ferrer will meet Gasquet in the bottom half of the draw.
Simon came through a tight first set against crowd favourite Fabrice Santoro before running away with the match 7-6(3), 6-1 after 94 minutes.
After the match Santoro, who won the event back in 2002, was presented with a commemorative plaque by Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
[Its] something special because I said on the court when I came here in 1993, Dubai was a brand new city and a brand new tournament and I saw this place growing up since 17 years, said Santoro.
So it’s something special for me to leave the tournament today, but I’m happy once again to reach the qualifying at the end.
Simon was quickly followed into the semis by fourth seed Ferrer who made short work of Russian Igor Andreev.
The Spaniard booked his place in his third semi-final of the year with a 7-5, 6-1 victory in an hour and 48 minutes.
Ferrer’s next opponent, Gasquet, had been expecting to feature in the final match on Centre on Thursday until his quarter-final opponent, Murray, quit the event.
The last singles match on court was Djokovic’s highly anticipated clash with in-form Croat Marin Cilic, who’s already picked up titles in Chennai and Zagreb this year.
And after the drama of Murrays withdrawal from the event had sunk in the new favourite for the title, Djokovic, got about the business of swiftly booking a semi-final spot.
The world No.3 enjoyed a surprisingly straightforward passage into the last four by beating Cilic 6-3, 6-4.