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04 March 2024

Roger Federer fails to reach Dubai Open final

Number two seeded Roger Federer returns to Tomas Berdych during the semi-finals of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship. (SUPPLIED)

By Ajanta Paul

The much anticipated showdown between Roger Federer versus Novak Djokovic in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship on Friday, has been thawted by Tomas Berdych.

Federer lost the semi-finals here in Dubai to the Czech player in three sets, 3-6 7-6(10-8) 6-4.

"It's obviously unfortunate," said second seed Federer. "It was a pity to lose that one, but Tomas did well to hang in there."

Tomas Berdych saved three match points before clinching the match from the defending champion and five-time winner of the Dubai event.

In a back-and-forth tiebreaker, Berdych led 4-2 before needing to save two match points - the second with a powerful serve.

The Czech player then wasted a set point before Federer failed to convert his third match point. Berdych finally clinched the set with a blistering return.

This will be Berdych's fifth win in recent times against Federer.

Federer looked in control of the second semi-final after taking the first set and recovering from 5-2 down in the second to force a tie-break, but Berdych's serve came to the rescue.

"Obviously I leave this match with a lot of regrets, I'm feeling, serving for the match, having chances in the beginning of the second when he wasn't quite in the match yet to go set and a break up, a few points where things just didn't happen for me. Pity to lose that one, but Tomas did well to hang in there," Federer said.

Second set saw series of service breaks leading to a tie-breaker.

Berdych looked much more confident than the tired Federer going into the decider. Federer started the final set impressively with a couple of comfortable service holds, but was broken again in the 5th game as Berdych moved ahead for the first time in the match.

The 27-year-old former Wimbledon finalist calmly closed out the match after two hours and 20 minutes.

"I couldn't be better feeling than this one," said Berdych, "coming from court playing Roger I would say almost in front of his home crowd, I would say that, and to be the one who won that match. It really feels great. I'm very pleased the way I played today."

"For me, it was a celebration of tennis. I like to play him so much because of what he has achieved," said Berdych.