- Dubai Tennis Championships
Federer rallies past Stepanek as Djokovic races on
Roger Federer had to come back from a 2-0 deficit in the deciding set to beat Radek Stepanek 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3 and advance to the quarter-final of the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Federer impressively took the opening set in 33 minutes after establishing his advantage with 10 winners in 12 shots and committing only four unforced errors.
Stepanek broke serve early in the second but Federer recovered when his opponent was serving for the set at 5-4. However, a 6-2 lead in the tie-break helped Stepanek claim his first set over Federer since 2008.
The momentum shifted the Czech's way as he broke early again in the decider and was close to taking a three-game lead. However, five games on the bounce helped Federer restore the advantage as he completed victory in just over two hours on court.
Federer will now play Lukas Rosol in the last eight after the world No.49 enjoyed a 6-4 7-6(4) victory over eighth seed Dmitry Tursunov.
Top seed Novak Djokovic needed less than an hour on court to record a 6-1 6-3 win over Roberto Bautista Agut and keep hopes of a semi-final clash with Federer alive.
Djokovic raced through the opening set in 23 minutes and, despite being broken when 5-2 up in the second, easily saw out the match.
Elsewhere, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gained a free passage to the quarter-final after opponent Nikolay Davydenko retired. Tsonga will now face Tomas Berdych after the third seed saw off Sergiy Stakhovskiy with a 6-2 6-1 win in just under an hour on court.
Wildcard James Ward was beaten 6-1 7-6(3) by sixth seed Mikhail Youzhny , Philipp Kohlschreiber enjoyed a 6-3 6-3 win over Andreas Seppi and wildcard Malek Jaziri reached the final eight with a 6-3 7-5 triumph over Somdev Devverman.