ATP Tour

Federer, Djokovic on course

2013-02-27 19:47
Roger Federer (File)

Dubai - Novak Djokovic, the world number one, and Roger Federer, the defending champion, moved nearer to a showdown in Saturday's final when both raced into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Federer set the pace by getting there in only 71 minutes against Marcel Granollers, the world number 34 from Spain, with Djokovic taking just 90 minutes to get past another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista-Agut, the world number 55.

Djokovic applied constant pressure with his speedy court coverage and the weight and angles of his ground strokes, and might have won in under an hour had he not lapsed briefly in the second set, letting Bautista Agut back into it.

This enabled the man nicknamed "Bati" to launch some hard blows, come from 2-5 down, and save four match points in a 24-point ninth game before going down 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).

Federer mixed phases where he appeared to be coasting, with moments when he suddenly switched two gears to deliver stunning winners, in a 6-3, 6-4 success.

He was also tactically unpredictable.

Encouraged by the fast court and perhaps by his opponent's frequent charges into the forecourt, Federer came to the net more often than usual. But he was curiously unclear about why he did not attempt this more often.

"It's something I have been trying my whole life, to be more aggressive," he said. "I would like to serve-volley more - but I'm winning, so it's okay.

"I don't know why I don't do it more. Perhaps because courts around the world are on the slower side, and you come to the quicker courts like this and you don't dare. It's a habit."

Later he explained it as an outcome of his bright new pink shoes, about which he was questioned.

"That's the problem: I come to the net and the guy knows," Federer grinned. "It ain't good, you know. Definitely not camouflage."

Djokovic's match confirmed the importance, even for the best player in the world, to keep his mind pinned down till the end.

"I played a good match for an hour or so, but then I didn't stay committed to every point," he admitted.

Djokovic now plays Andrea Seppi, the seventh seeded Italian, whose elegance off the ground may punish any further lapses more severely.

Federer will follow Djokovic with a match against Nikolay Davydenko, the former world number three who ousted the sixth seeded Janko Tipsarevic, and followed it with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Victor Hanescu, of Romania.

Federer has a likely semi-final with Tomas Berdych, his Wimbledon conqueror of two years ago, who overcame jet-lag, an umpire's warning, and a difficult first set against Germany's Tobias Kamke before calling for changes to the time limit rule.

Berdych emerged relieved and disgruntled after surviving 7-5, 6-1 against the world number 90, apparently under pressure from multiple sources.

One of them was the new 25-second time rule, which reduces by five seconds the permitted pause between rallies.

"I don't like it. I'm not a fan of it," he said.

"I don't see any single reason to have this rule. What could be positive on this? What could work? What could be the advantage?

"It should be more clear what's going on, because the referee has so much power on you," he reckoned.

"He can do whatever he wants. So let's put the clock there, and then everybody goes by the clock. Simple as that."

Berdych plays Dmitry Tursunov of Russia but another Russian, Mikhail Youzhny, the eighth seed, was beaten.

His conqueror was Daniel Brands, six feet five inches tall, with an imposing net game, who upset the seedings in the Gulf for the second time this year, having reached the semis in Doha.

Brands now faces Juan Martin del Potro, the fourth-seeded former US Open champion, whose 6-4, 6-4 win over Somdev Devvarman, the Indian returning after many months out with injury, received rather modest acclaim.

However his ensuing "match" with his Argentine compatriot Diego Maradona, the footballing legend who is in the country on ambassadorial duties, was received as if del Potro had scored at the Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires.

Results from day three of the Dubai Open on Wednesday (x denotes seeding):

Second round

Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Roberto Bautista-Agut (ESP) 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)
Andreas Seppi (ITA x7) bt Lukas Rosol (CZE) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG x4) bt Somdev Devvarman (IND) 6-4, 6-4
Daniel Brands (GER) bt Mikhail Youzhny (RUS x8) 6-4, 6-4
Dmitry Tursunov (RUS) bt Michael Llodra (FRA) 7-6 (7/5), 2-6, 6-3
Tomas Berdych (CZE x3) bt Tobias Kamke (GER) 7-5, 6-1
Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) bt Victor Hanescu (ROM) 6-4, 7-6 (7/2)
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-3, 6-4

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Sharapova knocked out

46 minutes ago

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Climbing the world’s largest stone arch

For the first time ever, a rock climber conquered the biggest stone arch in the world.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
4 exercise excuses and how to beat them
Watch: Insane road bike skills!
Vote

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.