Djokovic saves 3 match points vs Monfils to make Dubai final

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Novak Djokovic saved three consecutive match points to beat Gael Monfils on Friday and set up a Dubai Championships final showdown against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Monfils led 6-3 in the second-set tiebreaker but Djokovic saved all three match points as his forehand forced errors.

Djokovic converted his eighth set point when Monfils double-faulted. He cruised the rest of the way, winning 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-1.

“It’s like being on the edge of a cliff,” Djokovic said about the match points. “You know there is no way back so you have to jump over and try to find a way to survive I guess and pray for the best and believe that you can make it, that there is something that is going to help you.

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“That’s one of the things that I feel at the moment. OK, one point away, one shot away. There is no going back. This is it. I accept the situation and try to make the most out of it.”

Djokovic extended a couple of winning streaks: 20 on the tour dating to the Davis Cup Finals in November, and 17-0 against Monfils on the main tour.

Meanwhile, defeat brought an end to Monfils’ career-best 12-match winning streak, including titles in Montpellier and Rotterdam this month.

No. 2-seeded Tsitsipas beat Daniel Evans of Britain 6-2, 6-3 without offering a break chance in their first meeting.

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“I just played a quality of tennis which I enjoyed,” Tsitsipas said. “I am really impressed by the quality of my game, and I really hope to bring the same and possibly even better in the next round.”

He’s 2-2 against Djokovic.

“It’s anybody’s game really,” Djokovic said.

He will play for his fifth Dubai title, trying to add to 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013.

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Tsitsipas, who lost in the Dubai final a year ago to Roger Federer, will play for his sixth career title. He won the Marseille final last weekend.