Federer, Murray blaze into Dubai semi-finals
By Bill Scott Mar 1, 2012, 15:07 GMT
Dubai - Four-time champion Roger Federer turned in another dominating performance on Thursday to post his 12th win without a loss against Mikhail Youzhny as he rode a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of the Russian into the semi-finals of the Dubai Championships.
Andy Murray, seeded third, reached his first career semi at the event, defeating Tomas Berdych after missing on an agonising six match points.
Federer will face either Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of Argentine Juan Del Potro on Friday while Murray will take on the winner from top seed Novak Djokovic and fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic.
Swiss ace and second seed Federer has not faced a break point in his last two matches and demonstrated his total command of the situation against Youzhny by going through in 69 minutes.
'It's never easy against Mikhail,' the 16-time Grand Slam champion said of his series with the Russian who has won just three sets against him in a dozen years.
'He had some chances in the first set, but I was able to overcome them. I played well on my service games. It's going well for me, I'm feeling focused this week.
'I have to keep that up if I want to keep winning.'
Murray closed out the best win of his career in the emirate on the seventh time of asking as his Czech Berdych finally drove a backhand long to end the struggle.
It was Murray's first win over Berdych since 2005 after losing their last three.
The Scot was troubled by a long-term knee niggle which he says he can play through. The match also ended on a bad note with an over-rule from the chair after a decision went in Murray's favour in the final game as it was determined that Berdych got a racquet on a return.
Under a controversial rule disliked by both Murray and his opponent for its lack of clarity, the Scot got the point before finally closing out the victory in just under two hours.
Murray ended with seven aces and four breaks of serve.
'I had the right tactics for the first set and a half,' said Murray, who would stage a repeat of an epic Australian Open semi-final should he face world number one Djokovic in a semi-final.
'I got away from those for awhile but generally I was doing the right things. The end was not frustrating. I've always ben comfortable in closing out matches.'
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