Borna Coric (CRO) - ATP No. 13, UTR No. 12 (15.56)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) - ATP No. 19, UTR No. 24 (15.35)
Borna Coric has now squeaked out back-to-back victories in the third-set tiebreakers. The Croat has certainly not been in peak form so far, but his warrior mentality on the tennis court has paid off in Dubai.
After playing Tomas Berdych this morning, Coric should be ready for the blistering pace of Nikoloz Basilashvili, one of the game's hardest hitters. Basiliashvili changes direction very well, especially down the line on the backhand. If you are playing Coric, you will not beat him to his backhand side, you must break down his weaker shot: the forehand. A perfect way to do that is to change direction with your down-the-line backhand, one of Basilashvili’s best shots.
If Basilashvili plays well, this is his match to lose. His game matches up well against the talented young Croat, and the court speed in Dubai will reward his crushing ground game. Look for Basilashvili to blast Coric off the court in this match. At some point the young Croat’s luck will run out in Dubai.
Roger Federer (SUI) - ATP No. 7, UTR No. 4 (15.92)
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) - ATP No. 35, UTR No. 29 (15.29)
Roger Federer is just three matches away from winning his 100th career title. After Kei Nishikori’s loss this morning, Federer is now the highest-ranked player in the draw and has the highest UTR of anyone left in the draw by a significant margin.
He will face former top junior Marton Fucsovics of Hungary for a spot in the semifinals, a player he defeated at the 2018 Australian Open. This looks like Federer’s best chance yet to snag elusive title No. 100.
The courts in Dubai are perfectly suited to Federer’s game. He should come out and make quick work of the supremely fit Hungarian. But how will Federer handle his nerves from here on out? Does Federer even get nervous?
While Fucsovics may not have the game to take out Federer on these lightning quick courts, he certainly has the fitness to make the 37-year-old work for it. But this is now Federer’s tournament to lose.
• Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Sloane Stephens headline the Abierto Mexicano Telcel. Watch live coverage on Tennis Channel Plus beginning Monday, 2/25 at 5:00 pm ET.
• Watch Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori live from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship starting Monday, 2/25 at 5:00 am ET
ATP Sao Paulo
• Tennis Channel Plus features live coverage of the Brasil Open beginning Monday, 2/25 at 10:30 am ET