DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Defending champion Roger Federer and top-seeded Novak Djokovic are on course to face each in the Dubai Championships final after each moved into the quarterfinals Wednesday with straight set victories.
The world’s two best players were joined by Juan Martin del Potro and Tomas Berdych who also won in straight sets. Berdych saved 12 of 14 break points to beat Tobias Kamke 7-5, 6-1, and Del Potro defeated Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 6-4 before hitting a few balls with former Argentina soccer star Diego Maradona.
Djokovic beat Roberto Bautista-Agut of Spain 6-1, 7-6 (4).
The top-ranked Djokovic broke Bautista-Agut three times to win the first set in 23 minutes and took a 3-0 lead in the second. But at 5-3 up and serving for the match, Bautista-Agut managed to break Djokovic and seemed to suddenly come alive — going on to save four match points to level the set at 5-5.
Djokovic produced a volleyed winner to go up 6-5 up, only for the 55th-ranked Spaniard to have a good service game capped by a return from the Serb into the net to force the tiebreaker. However, Djokovic soon took control, accelerating into a 5-2 lead and winning the match when Bautista-Agut double faulted.
Djokovic now plays seventh-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy who beat Lukas Rosol 6-4, 7-6 (4).
Federer beat Marcel Granollers 6-3, 6-4, looking much more confident than he did in his opening, three-set victory over Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri. His serve was almost untouchable — he won 84 percent of first serve points — and he was much more aggressive, winning several key points at the net.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner broke the 34th-ranked Spaniard to go up 4-2 on the way to winning the first set. Federer broke a second time to make it 3-2 in the second and closed It out with a dominant serving game — including an ace and a final serve that Granollers returned wide.
Federer will next face Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, who beat Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-4, 7-6 (2). Federer has an 18-2 record against the Russian and hasn’t lost to him since 2010 in Qatar.
But the Swiss star said he still had to be ready for a player who once was ranked third before sustaining a series of injuries.
Top-seeded Wozniacki loses: In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki has lost to Wang Qiang 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-1 in the first round of the Malaysian Open.
The 186th-ranked Wang will next face Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria in the next round of the tournament.
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