AFP

Fed reaches Dubai final

Federer reaches Dubai final
By Reuters

25/02/2011 at 15:45Updated 25/02/2011 at 19:43

Roger Federer reached the final of ATP Dubai with a 6-2 7-5 victory over unseeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the second semi-final.

The world number two blew Gasquet away in the opening set, breaking twice as the Frenchman sat on the baseline and struggled to put top-seeded Federer under any consistent pressure.

Gasquet came into the match on a run of seven straight defeats against four-times Dubai champion Federer, and made the worst possible start on a typically sweltering night in the Gulf Emirate - dropping his opening service game in the face Federer's aggressive net play.

Gasquet - 26 places lower than Federer in the world rankings - looked limp throughout the opening set, looping groundstrokes from behind the baseline and watching as Federer slammed them back over the net with venom, and the 24-year-old was broken again in the seventh game of the set.

The Frenchman made more of a fight of the semi-final in the second set, forcing a break of his own to go 5-3 up - taking advantage of some uncharacteristically wayward Federer backhands and peppering forehands from sideline to sideline.

However, Gasquet failed to make the most of his opportunity to serve for the match, surrendering a quick-fire double break with the toothless baseline hitting that cost him the first set.

Federer's reward is a place in Saturday's final against world number two Novak Djokovic, giving the Swiss great a chance to avenge his Australian Open semi-final defeat against the Serb in January.

"I was very happy about my performance from the start," said Federer. "I felt I was hitting the ball well. He's been playing well here and to play him in the later stages of a tournament, I think, always makes him somewhat more dangerous just because he's found the groove.

"I thought tonight I played the right way. Obviously should have gone or could have gone three sets, but I was able to avoid that. Then he had a bit of a slump towards the end, which I was able to take advantage of."

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