Dubai: Novak Djokovic beat fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 7-6 (6) on Thursday to set up a Dubai Championships semifinal with Andy Murray, who beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5. Roger Federer too made it to the last-four beating Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4 and now awaits the winner of Juan Martin del Potro vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga quarter-final later on Thursday.
The top-ranked Djokovic, gunning for his fourth straight title in Dubai, had beaten Murray in a five-setter en route to defending his Australian Open title.
Djokovic broke the ninth-ranked Topsarevic twice and closed out the first set when Tipsarevic returned long. Tipsarevic rallied in the second set, holding his serve throughout and taking a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker.
Djokovic recovered to tie it at 4. Tipsarevic squandered a set-point at 6-5 when he double-faulted, and Djokovic won the next two points.
Earlier Federer and Murray advanced to the semifinals, winning their quarter-finals in straight sets.
Behind a solid serve, Federer won again this week without losing a set.
"On my serve, I was doing many of the right things," said Federer, who had five aces and won 80 per cent of the points on his second serve. "It's quick out there, so you got to be really focused."
Murray broke early in the first set, and later saved four break points to advance.
"That's one thing I've always been very comfortable with, closing matches out," Murray said. "I played three great serves to bring it to 40-Love and then missed a few first serves in a row and he went for some big shots. Then once you're back at deuce, you're thinking, 'God, I've just blown three match points.' So you kind of just want to try get through it if you can."
Berdych had a chance to break to take the second set to a tiebreaker. Murray delivered a serve that was initially called out but overturned on review. Umpire Mohammed Lahyani gave the point to Murray, leaving Berdych angry because he felt the point should have been replayed.
Lahyani argued that Berdych had already played his return into the net when the call came.
"When the point ends up like this, actually this is something you don't expect at all," Berdych said. "You're just trying to be focussed on the game and go point by point, and then something like that comes and you know you are right. What you can do?"
"It should be obviously a great challenge. Any time you play against the top players, that's the case," Murray said of his semi-final against Djokovic.
"You know, before the Indian Wells-Miami stretch, it would be good to see exactly what I need to work on, where my game is. I had a great match with him in Australia, and hopefully can reverse the result."