Federer, Murray To Face Off In Final
by Press Release|
Super-Scot Andy Murray upset defending champion Novak Djokovic 6-2, 7-5 to reach the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Friday, where he will meet four-time champion Roger Federer, who came through a nail-biter against Juan Martin del Potro to win 7-6, 7-6.
Djokovic suffered his first defeat of the year, but knew before he took to the court that he faced a formidable opponent in Murray. The number three seed served for victory against him last year in Rome, and recently stretched him to four hours and 50 minutes in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The pair were evenly matched until Murray took control midway through the opening set, winning seven consecutive games to lead 3-0 in the second. Murray led 5-2 and served for the match at 5-3 but netted a backhand to concede his serve, but he broke again at 6-5 when Djokovic netted a forehand.
"The first set I served very well and was aggressive when I had my chances," said Murray. "In the second set he started going for more and making mistakes because of that, because it's tough to always grind out matches. I think that was the difference."
"He started putting pressure on me at the end the match. He was coming to the net quite a lot, and I got nervous when I was serving it out. But I did really well to regroup after that. At 5-all I played a really good game."
Djokovic conceded that Murray had been the better player on the day.
"I was fighting for it, but Andy played a great match," said the vanquished world number one. "He was the better player today. He was serving really well. I made a lot of unforced errors when it was important. But, look, this is sport. It's normal that in some matches you can't pull out your best when you need to.
"I tried to be more aggressive, but I did that because I didn't feel really comfortable from the baseline. I wasn't really moving well. I didn't have much rhythm."
Federer, who has faced just one break point in the tournament so far, against Michael Llodra in the first round, found del Potro’s serve equally resilient.
Games went easily with serve until Federer led 6-5 in the first set, when del Potro had to fight off two set points to take the set into a tie-break. Federer quickly built a 6-2 lead before closing out the tiebreak 7-5.
Del Potro was under pressure early in the second set, holding off three break points at 1-1 and another at 2-2. But fortunes reversed when the match entered a second tie-break, as Del Potro built a 5-0 lead and held four set points at 6-2. But Federer dug deep, and reeled off the next six points to claim a straight-sets win.
"It was a good comeback, especially on a quick court," said Federer. "Obviously with his serve it's not really in your control. Same thing almost happened to me in the first set breaker. I think I was up 6-2 as well, and he got back to 6-5.
"So it was a great match for me. We both served well, which was then difficult to get some rhythm off the baseline. But overall I thought it was a tough match."
It was the third time del Potro has lost to Federer this year, but this was their closest battle.
"Sometimes you need luck to win this kind of matches, but in the end he played better in the important moments," said Del Potro. "I was close, really close. I missed easy balls, and you can't miss those balls against Federer or the top guys. But I think I made a good tournament, and I'm glad with my level at this moment."
The men’s doubles final between Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna of India and the Polish pairing of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski will take place on Centre Court at 5pm. The singles final will commence at 7pm.
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
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