DUBAI, February 25, 2015
Six of the eight second round matches at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday featured a seeded player.
The tournament’s number four and two-time finalist Tomas Berdych achieved a personal career milestone by beating Italian Simone Bolelli 7-6, 5-7, 6-0. The 29-year-old Czech has become the eighth active player with 500 career wins on the ATP World Tour. In today’s encounter, Berdych put only 57% first service in play and struggled in the second set but eventually sealed victory in two hours and 24 minutes.
“500 match wins, this is a nice milestone but there are still guys out there having different numbers. The only thing I can do is try to ensure that I’m taking care of myself to be fit and ready as long as I can and try to keep adding those numbers,” the Czech told.
The world number eight will face Sergiy Stakhovsky next. The 29-year-old Ukrainian gained his first victory over Denis Istomin since Munich 2011 winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in one hour and 42 minutes. After Rotterdam and Marseille, Stakhovsky has reached his third quarterfinal in a row and disclosed the secret of his success later on the internet:
“I am very pleased that I was able to come back from the semifinals in Marseille and get all the way to the quarterfinals in Dubai,” Stakhovsky said. “It is very tricky to go from indoors to outdoors in such a short space of time. It was a tough couple of matches – against Rosol and Istomin – but I am happy to keep my roll going.”
Top-seed Novak Djokovic advanced to the quarterfinal through an untroubled victory over Andrey Golubev winning 6-1, 6-2 in exactly one hour of play.
“Having one match under my belt before today’s encounter helped me to feel a bit more comfortable to move around on the court quicker, and I tried to take away the time from my opponent today,” admitted Djokovic. “It was just a much better performance than yesterday. Hopefully I can improve as the tournament progresses.”
The Serb will face Marsel Ilhan in the next round. The Turkish qualifier saved eleven out of twelve break points he faced to upset sixth seed Feliciano López 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in one hour 57 minutes.
Defending champion Roger Federer fought back from a 1-4 deficit in the opening set to eventually extend his head to head record against Fernando Verdasco to 6-0 winning 6-4, 6-3 in 60 minutes.
Federer will face Richard Gasquet in the quarterfinal. The Frenchman withstood eleven aces from Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut and came back from a set down as well as a break down in the final frame to knock out the seventh seed from Castellón 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in two hours and 21 minutes.
Third seed Andy Murray sailed through his second round match beating Portuguese Joao Sousa in only 57 minutes 6-0, 6-2 without facing a break point.
“Today I thought I just picked the right shots and played the right way when he was struggling,” said Murray. “I didn’t make sort of needless errors. He was getting more frustrated because he couldn’t get any free points and then he was going for more and more shots and obviously making more errors because of it.”
The British number one will take on Borna Coric next, who entered the main draw as a lucky loser. The Croatian teenager defeated Marcos Baghdatis in the closest match of the day in a dramatic way when the Cypriot had to retire at 4-4 in the tie-break of the final set after two hours and 56 minutes due to cramps.