Dubai - Roger Federer stayed on course for a record fifth title at the Dubai Open when he reached the semi-finals in a repeat of the 2007 final against Mikhail Youzhny here on Thursday.
The Grand Slam record-holder from Switzerland beat the former world No 8 from Russia 6-3, 6-4 with his third successive display of calm confidence, elegant ground-stroking and great solidity on the bigger points.
It suggested that the extra competition Federer has had this year - having included Rotterdam and the Davis Cup in his schedule - has made him very match tight from the start of the week.
It was his 12th victory in 12 encounters against Youzhny, and one of his most comfortable, establishing a break in the fourth game of the first set, and the first game of the second, and consolidating the advantages right through.
Youznhy, who has managed three successes against Novak Djokovic and four against Rafael Nadal, continued to find his former sparring partner his equal in his strongest areas - fluent groundstroking - and superior in all other departments.
Asked about how the match-up suits him so well, Federer said: "It somehow does.
"But I thought Mikhail was making a lot of chances. It just didn't go his way.
"I just played well on my service games," added Federer.
"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," he said.
It earned Federer a possible repeat with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the fourth-seeded Frenchman who became the first player ever to beat him from two sets down in a Grand Slam when he overcame him in last year's Wimbledon quarter-finals.
Tsonga was due for a quarter-final with Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion from Argentina later on Thursday.