February 28, 2018 / 4:57 PM / 9 months ago

Pouille battles past Khachanov to reach Dubai quarters

(Reuters) - Lucas Pouille overcame Karen Khachanov 6-4 3-6 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and avenge his defeat by the Russian in last weekend’s final in Marseille.

Second seed Pouille served seven aces and converted three break points to prevail in an hour and 39 minutes. Up next for the Frenchman is a first career meeting with Yuichi Sugita, who beat Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(4) 6-4.

“I knew it would be a tough one,” Pouille, who won the Montpellier title earlier this month, said.

“In the final in Marseille, he won just three points more than me. I knew it was very close. I had to play some good tennis... I’m just very happy that I got my revenge today.”

Pouille, the highest seed remaining in Dubai after Grigor Dimitrov’s shock loss to Tunisian wildcard Malek Jaziri on Tuesday, broke world number 41 Khachanov in the ninth game before cruising to a one-set lead.

Khachanov hit back in the next set to drag the contest into a decider, before Pouille saved two break points in the third set and upped his game to advance.

Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded third, also reached the quarter-final after a 6-4 6-7(2) 6-1 victory over Pierre-Hugues Herbert in windy conditions. He next faces Borna Coric, who eased past Benoit Paire 6-1 6-4.

Greek wildcard Stefanos Tsitsipas dumped out sixth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6 6-3 6-4.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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