Playing only his second match after the Australian Open, defending champion Roger Federer fought back after some early trouble against Spain’s Fernando Verdasco. But soon he found his rhythm to win in an hour to enter the last 8 of the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Championships. No.1 seed Novak Djokovic also entered the quarterfinals after brushing aside a weak challenge from Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev also in one hour. Other super seeds to book their quarterfinal berths were Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych. While Murray literally had a cake-walk over Portugal’s Joao Souza, Berdych’s win came with a personal milestone. The Czech needed three sets to win against Italian Simone Bolelli in recording his 500th match victory of his tennis career. The other four, who reached the quarterfinalists were; Marsel Ilhan of Turkey, Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, Richard Gasquet of France and Borna Coric of Croatia.
Swiss legend Roger Federer was pushed by Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who pulled out one winner after another from his repertoire and led 4-1 in the first set. But Federer put a stop to it by reeling out five straight games, in which Verdasco couldn’t score a single point. After winning the opening set 6-4, Federer didn’t allow any foothold to the Spaniard and wrapped up the match 6-4, 6-3. For a place in the semifinal, Federer will have to get past Frenchman Richard Gasquet, who had a tough three-set battle against Roberto Bautista Agut before coming through 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Top seeded Novak Djokovic had a relatively easy passage into the round-of-8 as he beat Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev 6-1, 6-2. Aiming for his 5th title at Dubai, Djokovic struck 17 winners and won all eight of his points at the net. The Serbian also benefitted from 39 unforced errors committed by his opponent.
Djokovic’s quarterfinal opponent on Thursday will be Turkish qualifier Marsel Ilhan, who scored a surprise three-set win over Feliciano Lopez after dropping the opening set but finally coming through 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Earlier on Wednesday, Andy Murray played powerfully to beat Portuguese Joao Sousa 6-0, 6-2 and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic defeated Italy’s Simone Bolelli in three sets. For Berdych, it was a landmark 500th match win of his career though Bolelli proved to be a tough customer. After winning the first set 7-5, Berdych lost the next in the tiebreak before coming back strongly to finish the match 7-5, 6-7, 6-0. In their next encounters, Murray will take on Croatia’s Born Coric, who won against Cypriot veteran Marcos Baghdatis, who retired midway through the match. Berdych’s opponent in the quarterfinal will be Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine, who defeated Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
In doubles, Bryan Brothers of USA made a winning start at their first appearance in by beating Roberto Bautista Agut and Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2. In other matches Leander Paes/Raven Klaasen lost their opening round match to qualifiers Jamie Murray/John Peers 6-2, 4-6, 8-10. In another doubles match, Aisam Quereshi/Nenad Zimonjic beat Vasek Pospisil/Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 6-3.
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