Melzer Mauls Cilic to Reach Dubai Semis

It was a strange day. An unforgiving sun and a strong wind joined hands to play their own funny game. And yet they were not the winners!

By Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Fri 26 Feb 2010, 1:03 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:55 AM

Austrian Jurgen Melzer found a way to counter everything — the sun, the wind, a red-hot Marin Cilic, a 1-4 score in the first set. He defied them all.

Unlike Melzer, defending champion Novak Djokovic had the luxury of playing his quarter-final match in a pleasant evening. And the world number two managed to survive a mighty scare as he reached the semifinals of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships with a fine 2-6 6-4 6-0 win over Ivan Ljubicic, the world number 26 from Croatia.

Earlier, Marin Cilic, the world number 9 and the Australian Open semifinalist, lost his way after taking a commanding lead in the first set.

But the 28-year-old Melzer, who was struggling to cope with the ferocious ground-strokes of Cilic, suddenly turned his own racquet into a destructive weapon. The world number 31 served aces, played those crisp volleys and hit one winner after another until he clinched a 7-6 7-5 win to reach the semifinals on Thursday.

It was simply a stunning comeback from someone who had lost his semifinal match to the 21-year-old Cilic at the Zagreb ATP Tournament few weeks ago. Now here in Dubai, he beat the same opponent to reach the last four. Some player!

Later on the Centre Court Mikhail Youzhny of Russia played some fabulous tennis as destroyed Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-4. Tipsarevic, who outplayed Andy Murray in a thrilling three-setter on Wednesday evening, never found his top gear against the unstoppable Russian. “I always enjoy playing here in Dubai. It’s a very good tournament,” a delighted Youzhny said after reaching the semifinal.

Tipsarevic, it seemed, failed to recover from the tough three-setter that he played against Murray on Wednesday.

“Yeah, I think that was the key, you know. I had little bit of advantage over Janko, you know, because he had a really tough match last night. And my previous match was easier. That helped. So, yeah, I managed to recover better than him. Today he made more mistakes than me.”

Paes in semifinals

Crowd favourite Leander Paes of India and his partner Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic entered the semifinals of the doubles event with a fine 7-6 6-1 victory over Frenchman Arnaud Clement and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden on Court Three.

The second seeded Paes and Dlouhy will meet the unseeded German-Begian pair of Christopher Kas and Dick Norman in the semis. Kas and Norman beat Frantisek Cermak of the Czech Republic and Michal Mertinak of Slovakia 6-4 6-2 in their quarter-final match.

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