Tomas Berdych saved three match points on his way to beating title holder Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in the Dubai Championships semi-finals, setting up a showdown with world No 1 Novak Djokovic in today’s final.
Federer surged from 5-2 down in the second set but then fluffed three match points in the tie-break before Czech Berdych forced a deciding set with a bludgeoned return winner. In the final set, two miscued forehands and a double fault from Federer gave Berdych two break points at 2-2.
The Swiss saved the first with an ace but skewed another forehand wide to fall 3-2 behind and Berdych was able to serve out the match for a fifth win in his past eight meetings with Federer.
Earlier, Djokovic extended his winning streak to 17 matches by beating Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6. “His serve is very powerful, his forehand from the back of the court he can do anything with – I needed to stay in it when I was a break down,” Djokovic said.
“I played a poor game when I needed to close it out but he’s a great player, so it was always going to be challenging.”
Meanwhile, the extension of the French Open’s Roland Garros stadium, which has been championed by Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, was stopped by an administrative tribunal yesterday.
The project was approved by the city’s governing body two years ago but the tribunal ruled that the local residents’ complaints were not thoroughly considered and the fee payable by the French tennis federation (FFT) was set too low.
The extension, which the FFT said would cost 273 million euros, has been fought by residents’ associations because the building work would encroach on the nearby Auteuil botanical greenhouse complex.
This year’s French Open, the second grand slam event of the season, begins on 21 May. .