DUBAI — Gael Monfils fired down 10 aces but the fourth seed still crashed out 6-3, 7-5 to Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships Thursday.
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 semifinal of the season Friday, facing Dutchman Robin Haase, winner over Bosnian Damir Dzumhur 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
World No. 1 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.”
Bedene’s Davis Cup appeal rejected
Slovenia born Aljaz Bedene’s attempt to overturn a ban stopping him representing Great Britain in the Davis Cup was snubbed by an independent arbitrator Thursday.
Bedene, ranked 104th in the world, has been fighting to play for Britain since 2015 when the International Tennis Federation (ITF) introduced rules barring players from competing for two different countries.
The 27-year-old became a British citizen in March 2015, but because previously played for his native Slovenia, he has not been eligible for Leon Smith’s side.
After appeals were turned down by the ITF and the ITF board, British No. 4 Bedene and the Lawn Tennis Association took the case to Sport Resolutions.
But arbitrator Charles Hollander QC ruled in favor of the governing body.
In his judgment, Hollander said: “I have no doubt that his desire to settle in the UK has been genuine and that he has a genuine desire to play for Great Britain.
“I have the greatest sympathy for Mr Bedene and his predicament and consider that he has acted in good faith throughout.”
Hollander expressed hope the ITF might reconsider its decision at some point in the future.
“Of course it will be a matter for the ITF to decide whether such an application should succeed,” he said. — Agencies