The top four seeds cruised into the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday, all claiming straight-set victories.
Top seed Novak Djokovic dominated seventh seed Andrea Seppi to win 6-0 6-3, Roger Federer took only 54 minutes to overwhelm Nikolay Davydenko 6-2 6-2, Tomas Berdych defeated Dmitry Tursunov 6-3 6-2 and Juan Martin Del Potro beat qualifier Daniel Brands 6-4 6-2.
After a seven-minute opening game during which Djokovic saved a break point the world number one took charge against Seppi, who salvaged just three points on his own serve in the first set.
Seppi finally held for 1-1 in the second set after fending off two break points, but he was never able to offer anything more than token resistance against an opponent who felt he was hitting his stride at the right time.
"It was an even better performance than first two matches, so match after match I'm elevating the level, which is good," said Djokovic. "I'm trying to do my best on the court. Tomorrow obviously I have a big challenge, the biggest so far. Hopefully I can sustain the level from today."
Federer was in devastating form against Davydenko, and he was stretched on serve only once. That came as he served for the first set and let a 40-0 lead slip away before he finally sealed the set on his fifth game point. In the second set, Federer surrendered just one point on his serve.
"I was very happy. Good match for me," said Federer. "I served well from the start. Then also I thought I had good timing on the return in particular after missing a lot of returns in the first match.
"Today I thought I was really striking it well, and then by virtue of that I was getting the first strike in and then I was able to control the baseline more. So it was a good match for me."
Berdych hit nine aces and won almost two thirds of the points against an opponent who was troubled by a hamstring injury. The number three seed had to be patient before getting on top of his opponent, but once he broke to lead 4-2 he took almost total control.
"If you are in the position to playing one of the top guys and you just have a small issue in your body, it's just a terrible match," said Berdych. "At least you want to try. You never know what's going to happen, but once you are not really 100% ready then it's tough."
Del Potro and Brands had met just once before, in Vienna last October when Del Potro fired 30 aces and Brands 32 in a match that Del Potro won at the end of three tiebreak sets. This time the path to victory was much smoother for the number four seed.
The first set went with serve with neither player earning a break point until, with Del Potro leading 5-4, Brands played a miserable game and dropped his serve at love to concede the set.
Brands then made a backhand error on break point to give Del Potro a 2-0 lead in the second set, and he surrendered his serve to love for a second time when down 5-2 to give Del Potro a comfortable 62-minute win.
"Looks easy but into the court wasn't easy," said Del Potro. "I played really well in the second set, and I take my chance to break his serve in the end of the first set. Today he made a few double faults in the important moments, and I took that to break his serves. I think that was the key."
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which continues until March 2, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
For further information visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com or phone the call centre on +971 4 4172415.
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