Barring the upset of Juan Martin Del Potro, the ATP Dubai Open has played to form, with the other three top players getting there with relative ease. As the semi-finals descend upon us, let us take a look at how these may play out.
Tomas Berdych vs Philipp Kohlschreiber
Tomas Berdych is playing some of the best tennis of his life. Over the past year and a half Berdych has been making the quarterfinals and further in most of the tournaments he has been entering, but he did not have a title to show for all those efforts. He put an end to that by winning the title in Rotterdam a few weeks back. He has continued his good form in Dubai and he was quite impressive in ushering out Tsonga, a fellow big hitter, in the quarterfinals in straight sets. Kohlschreiber has been very impressive with his game this week and could pose a few tough questions for Berdych. Berdych is on a 7set winning streak against Kohlschreiber, however and I expect him to come through to the finals!
Prediction: Berdych in 2 tough sets
Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic
This was the match that the tennis world and in particular the tennis fans in Dubai have been waiting for and like many instances in the last decade, the top players have delivered this blockbuster match. The two greatest hardcourt players of this decade have won 9 Dubai titles between them and going by their form, No.10 looks imminent. Roger Federer is 32 years old, but he sure is giving it his all to stay in the mix with opponents 4-5 years younger than him. Since teaming up with Edberg, Federer has been playing with an even more aggressive mindset and so far, it has been working for him. However, both in Birsbane and in Melbourne, Federer’s defense – which is clearly a few notches below his very best – has let opponents take control of the match.
Federer will have to play some real good defense to hang in with his successor on hardcourts, Novak Djokovic. Djokovic got a walkover in his last match against Youzhny, but in the 2 matches before that he was playing some crisp and clean tennis, the kind of tennis that netted him the 5 hard court GS he has won. The big factors against Novak will be the crowd – this is after all Federer’s home away from home and his own form in big matches, which has been up and down in the last one year.
I think Nole will counter both those factors well, today but I am not entirely sold on Federer bringing the goods on the defense. The first will be much more critical for Roger than for Novak, but as I said, I expect Nole to come well prepared to the biggest match of this week and I expect him to notch his 16th win against Federer.
Prediction: Nole to win the match in 2 sets with possibly the first set being real touch and go.
–Prakash Potukuchi [ aka Roger Laver is the founder of Sportz Cosmos. He tweets here.]