Federer floors Djokovic in Dubai semis

Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:01pm EST
 
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By Matt Smith

DUBAI (Reuters) - Roger Federer rolled back the years to stun Novak Djokovic 3-6 6-3 6-2 in the semi-finals of the Dubai Championship on Friday, his first victory in four meetings with the world number two.

Seventeen-times grand slam winner Federer predicted before the tournament that his best tennis was still to come, a suggestion that sounded far-fetched for a player who has slipped to eighth in the world, his lowest ranking since 2002.

From midway through the second set, however, the 32-year-old Swiss dominated Djokovic who is still some way short of his 2011 peak when he won Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Australian Open.

"There was a buzz out there tonight. I was fully able to enjoy myself," Federer said in a courtside interview after setting up a final clash with Czech Tomas Berdych who beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5 7-5.

"It's never easy against Novak. Today I had a difficult start that put me on the back foot but the crowd kept pushing me on. It's a quick court and I'm always going to play aggressively."

Djokovic, 26, went into the match having won nine of his previous 12 encounters with Federer.

The Swiss, though, seized the opportunity to send a message to the tennis world that reports of his decline were premature.

"This is a big step in the right direction for me, gives me a lot of confidence," said Federer.   Continued...

 
Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their men's singles semi-final match at the ATP Dubai Tennis Championships, February 28, 2014. REUTERS/Saleh Salem