Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are just one win away from setting up a mouth watering final at the Dubai Dutyfree ATP 500. While world number Djokovic strolled past his 104th ranked opponent Marcel Ilhan of Turkey winning 6-1, 6-1, the second ranked Federer was on court for just 20 minutes as gis quarter final opponent Richard Gasquet of France retired due to back problems after loosing the first set 6-1. Fourth ranked Andy Murray though was less fortunate as he played an error prone match against Lucky Loser Borna Coric of Croatia; ranked 84th in the world. The 2012 runner up at this event was handed a crushing 1-6, 3-6 defeat while the last remaining slot was filled up by the world number eight Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic who was made to fight all the way by the Russian Sergiy Stakhovsky before winning 6-3,4-6,6-2.
The line up for the Last Four with my picks mentioned first is as under:
Novak Djokovic v. Tomas Berdych
Roger Federer v. Borna Coric
Djokovic who has won this event four times in the past is bidding to win his 50th ATP title which would enable him to surpass his coach Boris Becker who won 49 singles titles. The Serb has a 17-2 head to head record against Berdych who only last month stopped a 17 match loosing streak to the Spaniard Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. The Czech reached the career milestone of 500 wins this week becoming only the eighth among active players; has been a runner up last two years loosing to Djokovic in 2013 and to Federer in 2014.
Federer, who is trying to win an unprecedented 7th title in Dubai will be playing his first match against Coric who at 18 years and 3 months, became the first teenager to reach the Dubai semi-finals since Rafael Nadal clinched the title in 2006 at age 19. Ironically it was Federer who finished runner up that year. Federer won in Brisbane early last month becoming only the third player since Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl to reach the 1000 match win mark. Should both the top seeds progress it would set up a 37th career meeting between the top two which Federer leads 19-17. The Swiss super star has won both the grass court events at Halle and Wimbledon seven times in his glittering career.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org]