- ATP Tour
Federer avoids complications to reach last eight
Second seed Roger Federer cruised into the last eight of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 victory over Marcel Granollers on Wednesday.
Federer, looking for his sixth victory in the event, was never seriously tested by the world No. 32 Spaniard, needing just 71 minutes to secure his progression.
The first set was a pragmatic affair, Federer breaking early and then riding his strong serve to the conclusion of the stanza. The second set was more competitive, with Granollers engineering a couple of break point openings he was unable to take, but Federer remained alert and inventive with his groundstrokes - grabbing the only break in the fifth game of the set as he eventually served out for victory.
"I thought I was sharp, I knew what I wanted to do and I was able to do it," Federer said afterwards. "He was going to come in, so I thought I would rather hit a volley than a passing shot - when the courts are so fast, you want to play offensive."
Top seed and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic subsequently followed Federer into the last eight, although the Serbian's passage eventually proved more complicated than he had perhaps anticipated as opponent Roberto Bautista-Agut refused to lie down in the second set.
Djokovic was imperious in the opening set - his opponent barely avoided a bagel - but he paid the price for perhaps being slightly complacent in the second set, as his opponent matched him step-for-step to force an unlikely tiebreak.
Djokovic was not fazed by the additional obstacle, and duly kept Bautista-Agut at arm's length as he completed a 6-1 7-6(4) victory.
Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin Del Potro both sealed their places in the quarter-finals of the tournament, with third seed Berdych overcoming Germany's Tobias Kamke 7-5 6-1 and Del Potro beating Somdev Devvarman 6-4 6-4.
Former Wimbledon finalist Berdych has been having a consistent campaign, and the big-serving Czech was the first man to reach the last eight, booking his spot in the quarter-finals of a tournament in 2013 for the fourth time, and comes off the back of finishing a runner-up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final at Marseille last week.
It was an ultimately convincing success for Berdych, but it was not without its controversy as he became embroiled in a heated exchange with the umpire mid-way through the match after being warned for time wasting.
Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, saved three match points to get the better of Marcos Baghdatis in the previous round, but had no such worries against Devvarman, with the fourth seed completing a routine straight sets victory in front of his fellow Argentine, Diego Maradona.