All of the top four seeds reached the semi-finals in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. So far, they’ve had all had quite an easy ride.
Top seed, Novak Djokovic, had an easy draw up until the quarter-final, where he faced seventh seeded Andreas Seppi. Yet, he maintained his composure and stamina throughout the match, and won the first set without dropping a single game. Seppi gave a brief problem for the Serb in the second set, where he was actually able to hold some of his serves! But it turned out holding three was not good enough, and he lost the set 6-3. The top seed picked up a tremendous six aces in the hour in took to win the match; the ninth match he’d won against this opponent, and he’s still not lost one.
Last year’s Olympic Bronze Medallist Juan Martin del Potro has also had a relatively easy draw, and he faced his biggest challenge in the first round when he faced Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. It was a very even game, with both players winning a lucky break in the first two sets, but otherwise holding serve; 4-6, 6-4. Looking at the post match statistics, Baghdatis, overall seemed better at serving and returning. But when was tennis played on paper? They continued to hold serve throughout the final set, and this time it got to a tie-break, but a couple of tired-looking nets from the Cypriot resulted in ‘The Tower’ of del Potro pulling through to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Thomas Berdych has played with an amazing eloquence so far throughout this tournament and, as of yet, has not dropped a set. He faced a slight hiccup when faced with young and energetic German Tobias Kamke. Kamke played well, diving across the court, and it looked as if we were heading for a first set tie-break, but he was still a little too predictable for third seed Berdych, and after the initial burst of enthusiasm had worn off, Berdych was easily able to win the second set and finish the match 7-5, 6-1.
Roger Federer has dropped a set in Dubai, but as he went on to win the match (against qualifier Malek Jaziri) 5-7, 60, 6-2 – there was no cause for concern. He then competed in a close, serve dominated match with Marcel Granollers and won it with some excellent cross-court shot variety 6-3, 6-4. In the quarter-finals, he dominated a game with Nikolay Davydenko, which he effortlessly won 6-2, 6-2.
There’s only been one real shock so far, in that Tsonga was knocked out (quite comprehensively in two sets) by fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra, but he lost to Turnosov in the next round, and he was thrashed by Berdych in the quarter-finals, so it doesn’t really matter!
A review of the semi-finals (Djokovic V Del Potro and Berdych V Federer) to follow tomorrow.