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.
“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.
“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.
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.