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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Roberto Bautista Agut to play Lucas Pouille in Dubai final

Roberto Bautista Agut will face Lucas Pouille in the Dubai Duty Free Championships final, after very different semi-finals on Friday.
Second-seed Pouille was the first man to book his place in Saturday's showpiece, which you can see on Sky Sports Mix from 3pm, battling through a rain delay and a rallying comeback from world No 34 Filip Krajinovic.
The Frenchman was two points away from winning the match in the second set before Krajinovic pinched it via a tie-break, following an eight-minute rain delay.
The decider also went the distance before Pouille sealed a 6-3 3 6-7 7-6 victory in a 2hr 59min epic that thrilled the crowd.
"When we came back out it was a very different match, very tight," said Pouille.
"I'm very, very happy to be in the final, I told myself to stay focused. I tried to do my best when we came back out. The tiebreaker was intense, every point was tough to win. But I think I played my best tennis in the second tiebreaker."
Bautista Agut, the third seed, joined him with a more routine victory in the second semi-final - the world No 23 was too good for crowd favourite Malek Jaziri.
The 34-year-old world No 117 had enjoyed a hugely impressive run to the semi-final, starting with victory over top-seed Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, but Bautista Agut's consistency saw him come through with a 6-3 6-4 victory.
Both men have their sights set on a second title of the year, Pouille was victorious in Montpellier in February while Bautista Agut claimed the title in Auckland in January.
It is the Spaniard who has the edge in the head-to-head meetings, having won two of their previous three clashes. Pouille can take solace in the fact his only victory came the last time the pair met in the third round of the US Open.
It is Pouille's ninth career singles final and his third in 2018 having lost in the final in Marseille last weekend and he claimed the title in Montpellier in February.
The Frenchman has won five of his eight finals to date while Bautista Agut has won seven of his 13 career finals - victory in Saturday's final will give Bautista Agut the biggest title of his career with all seven of his previous victories coming in 250 Series.