Dubai semifinals set: Federer v. Del Potro, Djokovic v. Murray.


Roger Federer powered to a 12th consecutive victory over Mikhail Youzhny, a result which seals the four-time champion’s place in the semi-finals of the Dubai Championships. The Swiss world No 3, who has not won the ATP 500 event since 2007, moved within two wins of a fifth title after posting an impressive 6-3 6-4 victory over the Russian. A solitary break of serve in each set was good enough for Federer, who improved his head-to-head record over Youzhny to a remarkable 12-0 without fending off a single break point. Speaking after the win, Federer said: “I thought Mikhail was making a lot of chances. It just didn’t go his way. “I just played well on my service games and I think the speed of the courts here helps with that. “I think I also have a good focus this week. So I have to keep it up if I want to win the title.”

Federer will face eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the last four after the Argentinian defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-2. Del Potro defeated Tsonga on his way to the Open 13 title in Marseille last week and had little trouble completing a second win in quick succession against the Frenchman. Although the first set was a closely-fought affair, Del Potro was clearly a class above in the second and eventually eased to a comfortable win. Del Potro holds a 2-9 mark versus Federer, having lost their past three meetings. “All the matches are different, all tournaments are different, [so] I’m trying to find a way to beat again him,” del Potro said. “His game is really difficult for me. He plays slices, dropshots, and he’s one of the best in history. So I just want to be ready for fight and to see how I’m going to play against him.”

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic recorded a first straight-sets victory over good friend Janko Tipsarevic to book a last-four date with Briton Andy Murray, who put out Tomas Berdych. The world No 1 won the all-Serbian quarter-final 6-1 7-6 (8-6). The Serb powered his way through the opening set before staving off a set point to edge Jankovic, who coughed up two double faults, in the tie-breaker. “I thought I started really well,” Djokovic told the ATP Tour website. “He was missing first serves, didn’t have a high percentage. “Then in the second set, whenever I had a break ball he served well. So he was very close to take that second set. Then who knows what could have happened. We both got a little bit nervous towards the end, I guess, and it was just luck to prevail.” As for his clash with Murray, he said: “Every time you play, especially top four, it’s a big challenge for both of us. “Especially after that Australian Open thrilling match that lasted for five hours. It’s going to be a good match. We both look forward to that. We always try to win against each other and it’s a great rivalry.”




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