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Djokovic blunts Del Potro charge

DUBAI, March 1, 2013, Agencies:

Bhupathi-Llodra get the better off Bopanna-Ram to enter title round

Novak Djokovic is delighted after powering past Juan Martin del Potro in the Dubai Championship. afp

Novak Djokovic extended his winning streak to 17 matches by beating Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the ATP Dubai Championship semifinals on Friday to stay on track for a potential final with holder Roger Federer.

Djokovic, unbeaten since October in a run that includes a third straight Australian Open title, will now play the winner of the second semifinal between Federer and Czech Tomas Berdych.
The world number one’s all-round game eventually proved too much for a defiant Del Potro.
The Serbian had breezed through the opening three rounds without dropping a set but Del Potro - the only man outside of the men's ‘big four’ to win a Grand Slam since 2005 - was a different prospect.

The former US Open champion squandered a 3-0 second-set lead only to then break back when Djokovic was serving for the match at 5-4 up in the second, with the Argentine forcing a tie-break.
Djokovic ultimately triumphed, a forehand winner from mid-court the only point in the tie-break going against serve.

“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 in a courtside interview.  “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.”

Hesh-Llodra in final


Mahesh Bhupathi reached the first final of the season with French partner Michael Llodra after overcoming a fighting pair of Rohan Bopanna and Rajeev Ram on Friday in the doubles semifinal at Dubai.

Unseeded Bhupathi and Llodra got past India’s Bopanna and Americam Ram 6-4, 6-7 (2) 10-5 in the first semifinal.

Bhupathi and Llodra now face third seeds Robert Lindstedt and Nenand Zimonjic, who pipped Mikhail Youzhny and Jonathan Erlich 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2).

Nadal in semis


Former world number one Rafael Nadal breezed through to the semifinals of the Mexican Open on Thursday, dispatching Argentine Leonardo Mayer in straight sets 6-1, 7-5.
The second-seeded Nadal will face fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro on Friday. Tournament top-seed and defending champion David Ferrer also reached the semifinals with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Italy's Paolo Lorenzi. The Spaniard will next face Italian Fabio Fognini.


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