Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri advanced to the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday by defeating Somdev Devvarman 6-3 7-5.
Just last week he was playing in the semi-finals of a Challenger event in Mexico, but his form there and in reaching an earlier final in Dallas attracted the attention of Dubai Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.
“Not only has Malek Jaziri played very well recently, but he showed great determination in returning from a lengthy injury break at the end of 2012 which stretched into 2013,” said Salah Tahlak. “He performed with distinction today, especially in a very closely contested second set, and fully deserved his victory.”
Jaziri was always ahead in the opening set, breaking to lead 2-1 and again for the set, but he twice had to recover a break in the second and closed out the match by winning five of the last six games.
“I arrive here long trip, 24 hours, three planes, was not easy to arrive Sunday night,” said Jaziri. “I was afraid if I could play one set. Then I'm in quarterfinals, so I'm very happy and I will try to recover as I can to be ready tomorrow. I tried to be more focused in the important points. Today I had very good serve in the important points. I mean, all the match was so-so, but in important points I made good serve or very good points.”
Devvarman was also the recipient of a wild card following his victory at a Challenger event in Delhi last week, but he felt he was unable to match his opponent on the court today.
“Well, I mean, obviously he played better than me today. I didn't play my best tennis, no question,” said Devvarman. “Started off slow, and then, you know, I thought I fought my way back into the second set, and even though I wasn't quite feeling so good on court I felt like I gave myself chances. I just didn't execute when I needed to.”
Jaziri will now face seventh seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who defeated Andrea Seppi 6-3 6-3.
Third seed Tomas Berdych also won, beating Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2 6-1 and he will now face fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who received a walkover into the quarter-finals when Nikolay Davydenko withdrew with a rib injury.
“We are thrilled to see the progress of Malek Jaziri, who has shown great resilience in travelling here all the way from Mexico,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free. “The fact that he was willing to accept a wild card into the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and undertake such a challenging journey is a clear indication of how highly the players rate what is the most prestigious tournament in the Middle East.”
Play in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which is owned and operated 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, continues until 1st March.
For further information about tickets, prices and the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com or phone the call centre on +971 44172415.