March 2, 2018 / 6:49 PM / in 8 months

Tennis: Pouille to meet Bautista Agut in Dubai final

(Reuters) - Second seed Lucas Pouille outlasted Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 6-3 6-7(4) 7-6(5) at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday to reach his third ATP World Tour final in four events.

Tennis - ATP - Dubai Open - Semifinal - Dubai, United Arab Emirates - March 2, 2018. Lucas Pouille of France celebrates after defeating Filip Krajinovic of Serbia. REUTERS/Satish Kumar

World number 15 Pouille, who won the Montpellier title last month and reached the Marseille final last week, prevailed in two hours and 19 minutes to give himself a shot at entering the top 10 for the first time in his career.

Standing in the 24-year-old Frenchman’s way is Roberto Bautista Agut, who cruised past wildcard Malek Jaziri 6-3 6-4 to end the Tunisian’s fairytale run in the tournament.

“Playing to reach the top 10 for the first time, it’s something great,” Pouille said.

“If I play like this every week of the year... if I’m focused and mentally as strong as I am now, I’m sure one week or another I’ll be in the top 10.”

After taking the first set with ease, Pouille ran into trouble at 5-4 in the second as a determined Krajinovic fought back to drag the contest into a decider.

After a short rain delay, Pouille clinched victory in a third-set tiebreak.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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