One of sports greatest icons Roger Federer can win the 100th title of his career at the Dubai Championships on Saturday.
But to achieve this feat, the 20-time Grand Slam champion would have to beat a rising tennis star.
Concise News reports that Federer set up a title match against 20-year-old Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas by ruthlessly defeating Borna Coric 6-2, 6-2 in just 67 minutes in the semi-finals of the ATP event on Friday.
Federer, 37, is looking to become the second man in the professional era to reach 100 tour-level tournament titles, joining Jimmy Connors, who won 109. Seven of Federer’s previous 99 wins have come in Dubai.
Tsitsipas had a tougher time getting to the final, rallying for a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) win over Gael Monfils.
Saturday’s match will be a battle of the generations – and a repeat of their meeting in the last 16 of the Australian Open in January, which was surprisingly won by Tsitsipas in four sets on his way to the semifinals.
Tsitsipas won the Open 13 in Marseille without dropping a set last week for the second title of his career and has continued his strong form in the United Arab Emirates. He is now assured of a place in the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time, replacing Marin Cilic.
“I have improved since last year,” Tsitsipas said. “Beating the big guys, big players, players that have been in the top 10, means a lot to me. I wanted to get there (top 10) at some point myself, and I made it today.”
For Federer, speaking after his semi-final triumph, he said: “It’s great. I’m very happy. It’s been a great tournament so far.
“Same for Borna too. He won three matches 7-6 in the third so I think he was a bit tired today.
“And I was maybe the guy who could profit from it.
“But I think I played a really good match again in swirly, tough conditions.
“I’m incredibly excited to be in another final in Dubai.
“Today was more about drop shots. I like to play some drop shots to check Borna out and that worked very well.
“Always tricky to play them in the wind as they tend to fly off the racket a bit strangely in the wind.
“But as you go deeper in the tournament you can play closer to the lines. You have more rhythm you know how the ball is flying, how much spin you need put on the ball.
“All these things fall into place and it was a good match for me and I hope I can keep it up against Tsitsipas tomorrow.”