Done and dusted: the Big Three are in last four
8.30pm: Roger Federer, the top seed, cruised into the last-four of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Making an erratic start, the four-time Dubai champion dropped his serve in the opening game. He broke back immediately, but was 0-40 down in the next.
Federer kept his serve with three booming aces and was cruise-mode from thereon. He broke for 5-3 and then closed the set with a smashing forehand.
The Swiss then broke the Ukrainian in the opening game of the second set, survived break points in the sixth and eighth, and missed three match points in the ninth before winning in 72 minutes.
Djokovic and Berdych fill up first semi-final slots
6.00pm: Novak Djokovic, the second seed, will meet Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships after recovering from a testy start to beat Florian Mayer 7-5, 6-1.
Djokovic, winner of the title here in the last two years, dropped his serve in the opening game of the match, but fought back to level at 5-5 and a second break, at love, gave him the set.
The second set was a lot easier as the Serb found his rhythm and adjusted to the game of an opponent he was playing for the first time.
Berdych continues his forward march
4.00 pm: Tomas Berdych, the third seed, has cruised into the last-four with a straight sets win over Philipp Petzschner.
The Czech took 107 minutes to win 7-5, 6-4 and now awaits the winner of the quarter-final between Novak Djokovic, the second seed, and Florian Mayer.
Roger Federer: I am not a robot
3.15pm: Roger Federer may have won 16 grand slams and entered the realm of tennis’s immortals, but the Swiss admits he is a mortal when it comes to staying focused on the court.
“Sometimes it [the mind] wanders,” said Federer, who will be meeting Sergiy Stakhovsky in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championship at 7pm tonight.
“I don’t know, sometimes if you have a song in your mind, sometimes you’re thinking of what’s going to happen tomorrow, what’s the plan for tonight. All those things happen.
“We’re human at the end of the day. We’re not a machine and go from like point to point like RoboCop, you know.
“So it’s like we have our fun, and sometimes it’s hard when the mind starts wandering. So sometimes you have to remind yourself, because time goes by in between. You want to kept the intensity high, but at the same time you want to relax. It’s a habit you get.
“I mean, by now obviously I’m an expert at it. I know how it works. But still, after playing so much tennis, I still have to remind myself to focus on each point, and then you break it down to each shot and so forth. So it sounds like it’s hard, but you get the hang of it.”
Out on court, Philip Petzschner and Tomas Berdych are at loggerheads in the first set with a tiebreaker looming, which is approaching the hour mark. Berdych leads 6-5 with Petzschner serving.
The No 3 seed Berdych breaks and takes the first set 7-5.
The preamble for the fourth day at the Dubai Tennis Championships
1.55pm: Tomas Berdych, the third seed, will get the action started on the fourth day of the ATP World Tour 500 Dubai Tennis Championship, taking on Germany Philip Petzschner on Centre Court at 2pm.
The top two seeds will follow, with Novak Djokovic, the tournament’s No 2, taking on Florian Mayer and Roger Federer will meet Sergiy Stakhovsky in the feature game starting at 7pm.
The two Frenchmen Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon will battle it out in the final game of the night.
Both Djokovic, the two-time defending champion, and Federer will be playing against their opponents for the first time, but Berdych had lost Petzschner the last time they met, in the Munich quarter-finals last May.
The Czech, however, still holds a 2-1 record against his opponent and will be hoping to make it to a possible last-four clash against Djokovic.
DUBAI // Hello and welcome to quarter-finals day at the Aviation Club in Dubai.
The top three seeds in the men's Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships are still alive in the draw, with Novak Djokovic, the No 2 seed, dropping a set in his struggle against Feliciano Lopez yesterday, eventually winning 6-3, 2-6, 6-4.
Roger Federer, the No 1 seed, made short work Marcell Granollers, winning 6-3, 6-4.
Tomas Berdych defeated Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 7-6.
They all play on Centre Court today, with Berdych leading the order of play today. The final game, which probably deserves a mention too is the all-French battle between Giles Simon and Richard Gasquet. Once again keep track of what is happening at the Dubai Tennis Championships right here.
The order of play today
Centre Court 2pm start
P Petzschner v T Berdych
F Mayer v N Djokovic
Not Before 7pm
R Federer v S Stakhovsky
G Simon v R Gasquet