Roger Federer made comfortable work of Feliciano Lopez in the 2nd round of the Dubai Duty Free Championships, defeating the 15th ranked Spaniard 75 63. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Juan Martin del Potro, Tomas Berdych, Janko Tipsarevic, and Mikhail Youzhny, in an upset over Mardy Fish, all advanced to the quarterfinals.
Federer played a very solid match overall. It was even throughout the first 11 games but then Fed captured the deciding break in the 12th game of the opening set, at 6-5, to take the first 7-5. The second set was much of the same, and Roger got the break in the 8th game and went on to win the second set 6-3. Overall, Roger was very solid. His serve numbers were incredible; 70% of first serves, zero break points faced, a whopping 34/37 of first serve points won, and he hit 12 aces, 9 in the first set alone. The returning numbers were not as stellar, but Lopez is a fantastic server and a tough guy for anyone to break. As we saw in the early rounds in Rotterdam, Roger played his best tennis when he needed to, at the end of each set. That was more than enough to get the job done, especially when he is serving so masterfully.
Federer now plays Mikhail Youzhny in the quarterfinals, who as previously mentioned upset #6 seed Mardy Fish 62 76(0). Fish has had a disappointing season thus far compared to his great 2011 campaign. He lost in the 2nd round of the Australian Open and then lost in the Marseille quarters last week against an opponent ranked #388 in the world, Albano Olivetti. Now he has suffered yet another tough, disappointing loss against Youzhny. At least that loss isn't as embarrassing as losing to Olivetti or Alejandro Falla, the man who took him out in the first major of the year. I do not quite know what it is this year, but Mardy must be struggling with something to be having such poor results. The only positive on his record this year has been his effort in the Davis Cup against the strong Swiss team. Anyways, Fed plays Youzhny, against whom he has an 11-0 record against and in fact, Youzhny has only taken 3 sets off Roger in those 11 meetings. You may remember that Mikhail withdrew in Rotterdam in the 2nd round so I guess it was fated that they would meet here in Dubai. As for the match, Youzhny is much different than Lopez and Llodra, as he does the bulk of his work from the back of the court. Having said that, Roger is playing so well right now that there is no way I can see the Youz giving Fed any sort of problems.
Andy Murray had a solid win against 3rd ranked Swiss Marco Chiudinelli. This win was important for Andy you would have to think after he barely escaped his first round match. Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, had a tougher match against Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky. He won 76(5) 63. Stakhovsky was up 4-3 in the tiebreak but Novak eventually prevailed, and the #1 player in the world was down 3-1 in the second before reeling off five straight games to advance. There, he will meet fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic, who lost the first set against Flavio Cipolla in a tiebreak, but then breezed through the final two sets 6-1 and 6-1. Del Potro, Berdych, and Tsonga beat Andrey Golubev, Lukas Lacko, and Lukas Rosol respectively in straight sets straight-forward matches.
Quarterfinal Thursday features three very compelling matches, and then Federer vs Youzhny. #3 seed Murray will play #5 seed Tomas Berdych, in what should be a very entertaining and competitive encounter. After that Fed will play Youzhny, and as I have said he should get by that easily. Then Djokovic plays Tipsarevic, which should be a close one. Djokovic has looked vulnerable this week and Tipsarevic could just be the player to make Novak pay for those slight drops in his game. In the final match of the quarters, del Potro will play Tsonga, a battle of two tennis heavyweights going two or three rounds in the squared circle (metaphorically, of course). Take your pick with that one as both have been playing very well so far this season, and del Potro is confident coming off capturing his 10th career title in Marseille.
Should be a fun day of tennis ahead!