DUBAI, February 27, 2015
Three familiar faces and one teenager appeared on Friday’s semi-finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
In the opening match defending champion Roger Federer ended the winning streak of lucky loser Borna Coric. At the age of 18 years and 3 months, the Croat has become the youngest player in the tournament’s history to reach the stage of the final four but lost his service five times in today’s encounter and could only win 48% of his first service points. Federer hit 20 winners and closed the match out after 56 minutes winning 6-2, 6-1 to advance to his ninth final in Dubai.
“Maybe I was a bit tentative in the beginning, but I was still able to get off to somewhat of a good start, not being broken early, then breaking him right away,” said Federer. “I felt like after five games I knew more or less what to expect, and I realized what had worked until that point and what had not.”
Coric, who claimed his second victory over a top 10 player in yesterday’s quarterfinal against Andy Murray told: ““He was just way too good for me. I was feeling so rushed. I didn’t have any time to play my game plan. I was just trying to hold in the rally as long as I could. I was serving very badly. When you’re playing against a guy who is No. 1 or No. 2 in the world, you need to be serving much better if you’re going to even compete with him.”
In the second semi-final, top-seed Novak Djokovic prevented a repetition of last year’s final in Dubai through a victory over Tomas Berdych winning 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and four minutes.
“Even after the first set that went as perfectly as possible and when I was break up I knew that the match is not over,” said Djokovic. “You know, he has room to elevate his game. I just wanted to stay on that level, but it was hard. I started making some unforced errors, backed up a little bit, less first serves in. Then he stepped in. From that moment on it was an even match, a lot of unforced errors from my side. Just wasn’t feeling the ball great in the third but somehow managed to hang in there.”
Berych was understandably disappointed. “It was a close game, but that’s how it is. I was trying to get my chances. I get quite used to those kind of situations that you play with him, and then you just thought that you are on another planet and you have nothing to do. You just have to wait and be patient and try to keep focused, self-belief, and try to keep going,” the Czech told afterwards.
Federer and Djokovic will meet for the37th time on the ATP World Tour with the Swiss leading 19-17 in head to head records.
In the doubles final Rohan Bopanna and Daniel Nestor will face Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Nenad Zimonjic for the title.