Federer reaches semis in Dubai as he chases 100th title

Marton Fucsovics of Hungry returns the ball to Roger Federer of Switzerland in their match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece returns the ball to Poland 's Hubert Hurkacz during their match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Roger Federer of Switzerland returns the ball to Marton Fucsovics of Hungry during their match at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Roger Federer of Switzerland changes his shirt in a match against Marton Fucsovics of Hungry during the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Roger Federer is two matches away from his 100th career title after beating Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-4 on Thursday to reach the Dubai Championships semifinals.

Federer faced two set points in the tiebreaker but Fucsovics hit two forehands into the net to let the Swiss star take control. Federer then wasted an early break in the second set but broke again for a 5-4 lead before serving out the match when Fucsovics sent a forehand return wide.

"The tiebreak was tough. I'm happy I found a way to get out of that one," Federer said. "That was an exciting match, to say the least."

Federer is looking to become the second man in the professional era to reach 100 tour-level tournament tiles, joining Jimmy Connors, who won 109. Seven of Federer's previous 99 triumphs have come in Dubai.

He will next face sixth-seeded Borna Coric, who beat Nikolaz Basilashvili 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1). Coric beat Federer twice last year, including in the Halle final.

"He's really found his game," Federer said of Coric. "We've had a couple tough matches as of late."

The other semifinal will pit rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece against French veteran Gael Monfils.

Tsitispas outlasted Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (4), 6-7 (1), 6-1, while Monfils beat Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-2.

Both Tsitsipas and Monfils are coming off tournament wins in Europe last week and have a 1-1 head-to-head record.

"We're both serving really well," Tsitsipas said. "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."

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More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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