Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Sports Network) - World No. 1 and three-time
champion Novak Djokovic secured a berth in the final, while Tomas Berdych
upended defending and five-time overall champion Roger Federer in Friday's
marquee semifinal action at the $1.785 Dubai Tennis Championships.
The red-hot Australian Open champion Djokovic extended his unbeaten streak
to 17 matches by beating fourth-seeded former U.S. Open winner Juan Martin
del Potro 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in 1 hour, 44 minutes, while the third-seeded former
Wimbledon runner-up Berdych knocked out the second-seeded former No. 1 Federer
3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-4 in 2 hours, 19 minutes on the hardcourts at Dubai Tennis
Djokovic and last week's Marseille runner-up Berdych will determine the 2013
Dubai champion on Saturday. The Serb is a laughable 12-1 lifetime against his
Czech counterpart, including a semifinal victory in Dubai two years ago.
Djokovic has won their last 10 encounters.
The sensational Djokovic broke del Potro three times on Friday, while the tall
Argentine settled for two breaks in a tight contest that saw the Serbian star
overcome a 0-3 deficit in the second set.
Djokovic, who captured this Dubai event three straight years from 2009-11,
is now 8-2 lifetime against del Potro, including wins in their last four
The 25-year-old Belgrade native will appear in his 45th career ATP final,
seeking a 36th title. This marks his second final of 2013.
The 31-year-old Federer lost despite firing 13 aces, as he also committed an
uncharacteristic five double faults against Berdych in the other tight affair
on Day 5.
Berdych improved to 6-11 lifetime against Federer, including wins now in their
last two meetings. The formidable 6-foot-5 Czech also topped the Swiss great
in a U.S. Open quarterfinal back in September.
The reigning Wimbledon champ Federer was eyeing a trip into an eighth Dubai
final. The Swiss icon beat U.S. Open titlist Andy Murray in last year's
championship match in the UAE.
The 27-year-old Berdych will appear in his 18th career ATP final, seeking
title number nine.
For the first time in the Dubai Tennis Championships' 21-year history the top-
four seeds all reached the semifinals.
Saturday's winner will claim $429,600.
The Sports Network