DUBAI - Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych advanced to the quarter-finals of the Dubai Championships in sharply contrasting styles yesterday.
Fourth-seeded Federer had to see off a serious challenge from 48th-ranked Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic before coming through 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-3, while Berdych, seeded third, eased to a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine.
Federer came into his two-hour, eight-minute match with a 12-2 winning record over Stepanek. He's now won their last nine meetings dating back to the 2008 Rome quarter-finals.
"I got broken four times, which is difficult, but it's good to win those type of matches," said Federer, who faced eight break points against his serve.
"I'm happy to get through. It didn't look good there for a while, but I got it done."
Federer handled the first set with confidence, but started to falter as Stepanek became more aggressive in the second set.
Federer managed to rebound from 4-2 down in the second set to force a tiebreaker - where Stepanek raced into a 6-2 and a first set point when Federer double faulted. Stepanek won the set on his third set point when Federer netted a forehand.
Stepanek also took an early 2-0 lead in the third set, but Federer rebounded to go ahead 5-2 to serve for the match.
Federer's serve was broken when he double faulted in the eighth game.
Stepanek, however, surrendered his serve in the next game to allow Federer to move into the quarter-finals.