Borna Coric’s impressive tournament run was halted by Roger Federer, when the Swiss defeated the Croat teenager in the semifinals on Friday. With that the world no.2 won his 10th match of the season and he will focus on taking his seventh title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. His opponent in the final is none other than world no.1 Novak Djokovic, who won in his semifinal match against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in three sets. The two big blokes in men’s tennis have more to gain from the tournament than just the match victories. They will be meeting for the 37th time to surpass the Open era meetings’ record of Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe. But they will still be 5 encounters behind the world-tour leading mark of 42 set by the Serbian and Rafael Nadal. The Federer-Djokovic clash has always been engrossing as they draw the best out of each other. Djokovic lost to Federer in the Dubai semifinals last year and once again recently at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. The Serb will be looking to change that on Saturday.
In the first semifinal on Friday, second seed Federer overcame 18-year old Borna Coric of Croatia 6-2, 6-1 in a 57-minute encounter. As the match began, the Swiss took a commanding 3-1 lead in the first set. To Coric’s credit, he also broke Federer once but conceded three breaks himself. After taking the first set in 27 minutes, Federer dominated Coric in the second. The defending champion hit 20 winners and won 9 points out of his 13 visits to the net. Federer produced 3 aces and he now requires 5 more to cross the figure of 9000 career aces.
In other semifinal later in the day, Novak Djokovic overpowered Tomas Berdych 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 in a little over 2 hours after rushing through the first set in 23 minutes firing 12 winners and losing only 8 points. It was the Serbian’s eighth straight semi-final in Dubai. Berdych recovered smartly in the second set and elicited plenty of unforced errors from the Serb in the second set. After taking an early 3-2 lead, which became 5-3, Berdych lost another service game. In the 12th game, however, the Czech played much better and took the second set at 7-5 on his second break point. The first four games of the decider went on serves, after which the Serb drilled out a series of groundstrokes from the baseline and forced three break points. Once he secured the break, it was only a matter of time before the match came to the end.
In the men’s doubles, India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Canadian partner Daniel Nestor cruised to the final after defeating Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau 4-6, 7-6, 11-9. The fourth seeded Indo-Canadian duo, however, had to save two match points and failed to convert three set point opportunities in the second set tie-break. For the title clash, Bopanna/Nestor will meet Aisam-Ul-Quereshi/Nenad Zimonjic, who had a hard earned 6-7, 6-4, 11-9 victory against Dominic Inglot/Florin Mergea in the other semifinal.
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