Dubai, UAE – February 23 2022: Jannik Sinner denied Andy Murray his 700th career victory on Wednesday when he defeated the former world number one 7-5 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Second seed Andrey Rublev also advanced to the quarter-finals, but he was challenged well by Soonwoo Kwon before winning 4-6 6-0 6-3. He will face Mackenzie McDonald for a place in the semi-finals after the American followed up his first round victory over defending champion Aslan Karatsev by defeating Filip Krajinovic 6-4 7-6.
Sinner, who had saved three match points against Davidovich Fokina in the first round, was never under any serious pressure from the 2017 champion and didn’t face a break point, although it took until late in the first set for him to gain an advantage. Fourth seeded Sinner did hold two break points at 2-2, but it wasn’t until the pair were tied at 5-5 that he made his breakthrough by breaking Murray to love before serving out for the set.
Sinner then made the better start to the second set, breaking again to lead 1-0 and, as Murray grew increasingly angry at his failure to reverse the momentum of the contest, Sinner took a commanding lead by breaking again to lead 4-1.
“Again, didn't feel like I played a good match,” said Murray, who had struggled to overcome qualifier Christopher O’Connell in the first round. “Had some opportunities at the end of the first set, then the game I got broken at 5-All, I think I missed all four first serves in that game.
“Then, yeah, responded poorly to that mentally. Got down a break early in the second. Yeah, mentally was not great from that point. Crucial part of the match, a little bit of adversity, and I didn't respond well to it. Yeah, I'm going to have to fix that, work on that, and hopefully do better next tournaments.”
Rublev was caught cold at the start of his match against an opponent he had beaten with some ease recently in Rotterdam and was broken in the opening game. Kwon not only held on to his advantage but held a set point on Rublev’s serve at 5-3 before serving out the set himself.
Rublev managed to turn things around in the second set, but not without considerable difficulty. He needed five break points to lead 2-0 and another four to break a second time to lead 4-0. And then just one break separated them in the deciding set, with Rublev again needing three break points before taking a 3-1 lead.
“We have again seen some outstanding performances today, not only from Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner from the world’s top 10, but others such as Soonwoo Kwon and Mackenzie McDonald,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “Many will be disappointed not to have witnessed Andy Murray winning his 700th match here in Dubai, but he will surely achieve that magnificent milestone in the very near future and we wish him well.”
“Andrey Rublev has come here straight from Marseille where he won his ninth career title, and he has responded magnificently to the difficult challenge of adjusting from the indoor courts in Europe to the outdoor court here in Dubai,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “Jannik Sinner has also made an excellent start after not playing since the Australian Open a month ago. It will be very interesting to see how they progress as the tournament moves towards its climax.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which continues until 26th February, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.