Dubai Duty Free Tennis: Tunisian crowd favourite Jaziri goes down fighting in first round

Malek Jaziri of Tunisia hits a return to Filip Krajinovic of Serbia during their match at the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. (AFP)
Malek Jaziri of Tunisia hits a return to Filip Krajinovic of Serbia during their match at the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. (AFP)

Filip Krajinovic of Serbia beat Jaziri 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4 in the first round match



by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 7:08 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 7:26 PM

Crowd favourite Malek Jaziri of Tunisia bowed out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships after an engrossing three-set battle against Filip Krajinovic of Serbia on Monday.

Wild card Jaziri, 38, rolled back the years with some fantastic shot-making from the baseline to win a close first set before the Serb fought back for a 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4 victory in two hours and 18 minutes on the Centre Court.

“We all know that Malek is an amazing player. He was a top 40 player. I had practiced with him so many times, he knows these conditions so well,” the 29-year-old Krajinovic said of Jaziri who reached the Dubai semifinals in 2018.

“I cannot say that I am happy with my performance, but I am happy that I am in the second round. I like to play here in Dubai. I have so many fans here,” added Krajinovic who would face the winner of the match between defending champion and seventh seed Aslan Karatsev of Russia and Mackenzie McDonald of the US in the second round.

Earlier, Czech qualifier Jiri Vesely pulled off the first big upset of the championships with a straight set victory over former US Open champion Marin Cilic of Croatia on Monday.

The 28-year-old Vesely beat Cilic 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in the first round clash.

Having come through the qualifying stages with two back-to-back three set matches, Vesely dominated the 2014 US Open champion as he won the first set with a single break of serve.

Cilic fought back in the second set when Vesely served for the match at 5-4, breaking the Czech before forcing a tie-break.

But Vesely, the world number 123, held his nerve in the tie-break to complete a well-deserved victory against the world number 24.

“I am very happy (with the performance). It’s very difficult to win these matches,” Vesely said.

“This is a very important win for me at this stage of my career. I want to be much higher (in rankings) and hopefully this is the first step.”

Results

Singles first round

(Q) Jiri Vesely (CZE) beat Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-4 7-6 (7/3)

Filip Krajinovic (SRB) beat (WC) Malek Jaziri (TUN) 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 6-4

(Q) Taro Daniel (JPN) beat David Goffin (BEL) 6-3 7-6 (7-5)


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