x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Live updates from the Dubai Tennis Open Championships

No surprises again as Federer joins Djokovic who though survived a Berdych scare before the latter retired injured in the semi-final action today.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia eyes the ball before returning a shot to Tomas Berdych in the second set.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia eyes the ball before returning a shot to Tomas Berdych in the second set.

Swiss on time again with precision

8.25 pm: Roger Federer is through to his sixth final in eight appearances at the Dubai Tennis Championships following a 6-2, 7-5 crushing of a hapless Richard Gasquet.

Federer started the semi-final with a break and closed the first set with a sublime drop shot in 29 minutes.

The top seed and four-time Dubai champion met with a lot more resistance in the second set and dropped his serve in the eighth game. Federer, however, broke back immediately. He broke again for 6-5 and then served out a love game for the match.

He will meet Novak Djokovic, the two-time defending champion and Australian Open winner, in Saturday’s final.

That's it then. The Swiss has not disappointed and set up the weekend here in this part of the world nicely.

Don't forget to come back and join us as we get you the latest as usual.

Youzhny and Stakhovsky are double trouble

6.30pm: Mikhail Youzhny and Sergiy Stakhovsky are through to the doubles final of the Dubai Tennis Championships after a straight sets win over Marcel Granollers and Dick Norman.

Youzhny and Stakhovsky won 6-3, 6-4 and now await the winner of the second semi-final between Michael Llodra-Nenad Zimonjic and Jeremy Chardy-Feliciano Lopez.

That match will follow after the singles battle between Roger Federer and Richard Gasquet for a place in the final.

Berdych retires to give away to Djokovic in an anti-climax

5.20pm: Novak Djokovic is through to the final of the Dubai Tennis  Championships when Tomas Berdych retired in the deciding third set  after injuring his left quad muscles.

Djokovic, who lost the first set in a tie-break, had fought back to  win the second 6-2 and was leading 4-2 in the deciding third when  Berdych decided he could not go on any further.

Berdych was struggling to move around the court or serve and Djokovic seized the moment, breaking the Czech in the sixth game to take a 4-2  lead. Berdych played two more points before deciding to retire.

4.15 pm: Novak Djokovic remains in the hunt for his third straight appearance in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships after fighting back to win the second set against Tomas Berdych.

Having lost the first set in the tie-break, the Australian Open champion, who has won here in the last two years, went ahead with a break in the fourth game as Berdych sliced a backhand into the net.

He survived two break points in the next game as Berdych first hit a forehand long and missed the line on the next. Djokovic then broke for a second time to take the set 6-2.

 

3.30 pm: Tomas Berdych has takes the first set in his semi-final against two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic after an exciting duel that lasted 66 minutes and was decided in the tie-break.

The first 11 games went to serve, with both Djokovic and Berdych not facing a single break-point. However, serving at 5-6, Djokovic was down 15-40; the Australian Open champion saved the first break and set point with an ace and then Berdych hit a forehand into the net after a marathon rally that lasted 14 shots.

At deuce, Djokovic served another ace and kept his serve with a forehand winner.

Berdych, however, came out fighting in the tie-break as well and had three set-points at 6-3. Djokovic saved the first with a chip from the back of the court and the second with a forehand winner, but then missed the court on the next point, giving the Czech his first set Djokovic in three matches.

So we are all set to start with this first update to kick off the evening though the action is still some time away here at the Aviation Club, the scene for the Dubai Duty Free Championships. While you get settle down you can also click on the following stories with a cup of coffee and a copy of The National for other sports stories.

Federer shines on centre stage at prime time

What makes the Dubai Tennis Open tick as the best?
Berdych thrives ut Djokovic plans his downfall
Monaco is my home, says Djokovic

1.20 pm: There is still more than an hour to go before Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych take the court for the first semi-final, but there long queues at every gate to the centre court.

Djokovic, the winner of the Dubai Tennis Championship in the last two years, and Berdych have clashed regularly on over the past year and this will be their fifth match since the Czech defeated the Australian Open champion in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

That is Djokovic's only defeat to Berdych in six matches, but with the courts expected to play fast in the bright sunshine, the Serb is expecting a tough match against his big-serving opponent.

The second semi-final, starting at 7pm, will feature the top seed and four-time winner Roger Federer against Richard Gasquet. The Frenchman has a win against Federer, but he could be the public enemy number one should he cause an upset tonight.