Tennis: Fourth seed Monfils falls in Dubai quarters

France's Gael Monfils returns the ball to Fernando Verdasco of Spain.
France's Gael Monfils returns the ball to Fernando Verdasco of Spain.PHOTO: AFP

DUBAI (AFP) - Gael Monfils fired down 10 aces but the fourth seed still crashed out 6-3, 7-5 to Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Championships on Thursday (March 2).

The French showman was unable to make a major impression in a match which was paused for almost half an hour in the closing stages due to light rain.

Spain's Verdasco will play his second semi-final of the season on Friday, facing Dutchman Robin Haase, winner over Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

World number one Andy Murray will aim for the final four later, facing German Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Russian qualifier Evgeny Donskoy, who sensationally knocked out Roger Federer in the second round, will put his form to a follow-up test when he plays French seventh seed Lucas Pouille.

Monfils lost for the first time in four meetings against Verdasco, with the unseeded Spaniard taking charge from the start.

Verdasco spent 35 minutes in winning the opening set and set about consolidating in the second.

The 33-year-old, ranked 35th, broke for 3-2 with Monfils saving three break points in the seventh game to stay in touch.

But Verdasco then produced a love game, 5-3, just before rain stopped play. The Spaniard finally prevailed after 81 minutes.

"I played almost a perfect match," Verdasco said. "I'm very happy, it was a really complete match in all the ways that you can imagine.

"After the rain delay I tried to be focused, just looking for the next point and trying to keep doing the same as before the rain.

"I'm very happy I'm in the semi-finals now. I'll try to recover and get ready for tomorrow."