Daniil Medvedev is two wins away from defending an ATP title for the first time in his career, defeating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semifinals.

"Alejandro can play very well. Sometimes during matches he can have little down moments but then he goes up," Medvedev said on court after the match. "So, I knew that, no matter the score, I needed to go til the last point. In the second set, there was one moment that got a bit tighter but I managed to stay there, win some more games and it was enough to win today."

The top seed won the first completed match of the day after the first two quarterfinals ended in retirements for Andrey Rublev and Alexander Bublik, winning a fourth straight match against the eighth-seeded Davidovich Fokina in one hour and 18 minutes on Center Court.

Though Medvedev had never lost to Davidovich Fokina in three previous meetings, two of the three had gone three sets—including a face-off in Rotterdam last February—and the former world No. 1 was fresh off a tricky three-setter against Lorenzo Sonego on Wednesday.


Medvedev trailed the in-form Italian by a break before rallying to reach the quarterfinals, where Davidovich Fokina was waiting after outlasting an injured Jakub Mensik in the Round of 16.

After admitting to nerves against Sonego, Medvedev appeared fully dialed in against his Spanish opposition, coming alive from 2-2 in the opening set and breaking serve with an impressive foray to net. In full flow, he got to set point behind a powerful overhead and put himself a set from the semis after Davidovich Fokina netted a low volley.

"I was feeling better," Medvedev explained of his on-court attitude. "I don't know what happened yesterday. Some people around me got a small virus so maybe it was this. Some days like this happen and I'm happy today was better. I'm not in my best shape yet but we have some more matches."

Having lost eight straight games, Davidovich Fokina made a push to get on the board in the second set when he earned a pair of break points, converting the second off a well-struck return landing on the baseline. He fended off two more break points to consolidate the break, but Medvedev made the most of his still-big lead, and serve-volleyed his way to a 5-2 advantage.

Medvedev served for the match two games later, outrallying Davidovich Fokina en route to two match points, only needing one thanks to a big serve out wide. A clean day at the office saw him end with 16 winners to 13 unforced errors and a 74% win percentage behind his first serve.

Standing between the former US Open champion and a second straight final in Dubai will be the winner of the day's last quarterfinal: No. 5 seed Ugo Humbert, who rallied from a set down to shock No. 3 seed Hubert Hurkacz.

"I'm definitely playing better. I have less pain with every match, and that helps you think less about it and go more full on different occasions. I'm looking forward to the semis because the further you go, the tougher the opponents. They're going to play now so I'm going to enjoy the match and get ready for the winner."