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Tennis stars to clash in Dubai

Saturday, March 01, 2014

DUBAI - Grand slam record-holder Roger Federer earned another showdown with defending champion Novak Djokovic by outplaying Lukas Rosol 6-2 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the ATP's Dubai Open yesterday.

The mood of Federer's success against the Czech, who famously ousted Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012, was in sharp contrast with his desperate recovery from within sight of defeat against Radek Stepanek on Thursday.

"If you want to just analyse it within like ten seconds, I think that's what it was. I don't (usually) break somebody eight times and almost lose the match," Federer said, referring to his slide almost to 0-3 down in the final set against Stepanek.

"So I definitely didn't hit my spots as well, as today on my serve. I maybe could argue that Radek is a better return player than Rosol and all these things, but still I did serve much more clutch today when I needed to."

Federer did go 0-2 down at the beginning of Thursday's quarter-final, but hurtled through the next six games, striking the ball beautifully.

Federer was happy to go into the match with Djokovic in confident mood.

"For me, it was important also probably not to be out there for three hours," he said.

Federer leads Djokovic 16-15 in their head-to-head record, but has lost the last three.

Djokovic advanced to the semi-finals more quickly than he would have wished when his opponent, Mikhail Youzhny, was taken ill and withdrew.

The sixth-seeded Russian has twice reached the final in Dubai and might have provided a good test for the champion.

Tomas Berdych increased his chances of reaching the final for a second year in a row when he overcame Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-3.

The third-seeded Czech hit with solidity in the second set when confronted with four break points against him in the third game and one more in the seventh.

Berdych, next has to survive a semi-final with Philipp Kohlschreiber, the seventh-seeded German, whose tidily aggressive performance ousted Malek Jaziri.

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