Berdych needed only 64 minutes yesterday to cruise past Dmitry Tursunov 6-3, 6-2 and into the last-four, while the defending champion Federer brushed aside the former world No 3 Nikolay Davydenko 6-2, 6-2 to keep himself in the hunt for a sixth Dubai title.
The Czech, who stunned Federer at the 2004 Olympic Games when still a novice, has defeated the Swiss in four of their seven matches since 2010, including Wimbledon in 2010 and last year’s US Open.
Overall though, Federer leads 11-5 and Berdych says the courts here could help the Swiss improve that record.
“Now the big match is coming,” Berdych said. “Roger is playing well here every single year and I’m looking forward to that match, yes.
“It’s not going to be that easy, especially here, because the court is really fast.
“And once you hit the ball somewhere quite aggressively, quite fast, then it’s very hard to do something with that ball.
“So let’s see. Probably this is one of the fastest courts that we will ever play on. The grass is fast but is a bit different. I think he really likes fast courts.
“But always playing with Roger, it’s a special moment whatever round it is.”
Berdych, who reached the final at Marseille last week before losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Sunday, arrived in Dubai hours before his first round clash and the Czech is happy with the way he has adapted to the shift from the indoor courts to the outdoor.
“This is quite a tough one,” Berdych said. “Came in the night [on Monday] and next day playing your first match outdoors. This is something I have never done before because the schedule was for me working differently.
“It’s my first experience. So it’s nice getting into new, unusual situations in my career.
“I’m getting better, yes, every match by match. Basically this is my third day and I already played three matches. It’s actually not that bad. The times run really fast.”
Federer needed only 54 minutes to cruise to his 19th win from 21 matches against Davydenko and the Swiss said: “I am happy I could play a good match. Obviously Niko did not play his best, but it was still a quality match.”
Talking about the semi-finals, Federer added: “Berdych is a very good player and he always causes trouble for me. He has got amazing power and I have always had it tough against him, right from our first match at the 2004 Olympics when he upset me.
“We have always given each other a tough game and I am looking forward to the match.”
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