Nadal, Federer land in Doha semis

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 3:17 PM ET

DOHA, Qatar -- Last year's Doha runner-up Rafael Nadal and two-time winner Roger Federer led the charge into the semifinals at the season-opening Qatar Open, a hardcourt Australian Open tune-up.

The world No. 1 Nadal got past fifth-seeded Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, while the second-seeded former top-ranked Federer blew past sixth-seeded Serb Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-2 at Khalifa Tennis Complex on Thursday. The reigning U.S. Open, Wimbledon and French Open champion Nadal will meet Russian star Nikolay Davydenko in Friday's semifinals in a rematch of last year's finale here, which was won by the speedy Russian in three sets.

Nadal defeated the talented Gulbis, who ripped 12 aces in a losing effort, in 1 hour, 51 minutes. The difference in the match was breaks of serve, as Nadal tallied three, compared to only one for the loser from Latvia.

Federer erased Troicki in 65 minutes, as he broke his Serbian counterpart four times, while Troicki failed to enjoy even one break-point chance in the lopsided affair.

The 2010 ATP season came to a close in November when the 16-time Grand Slam champion Federer beat his great rival Nadal, a nine-time major titlist, in the final at the World Tour Finals in London. Nadal beat the 2010 Aussie Open champion Federer in an exhibition tournament final in Abu Dhabi last week.

The Swiss icon Federer, the 2005 and 2006 Doha champion, will tangle with third-seeded former Aussie Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semis. The French Tsonga needed a pair of tiebreaks to fight past seventh-seeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (11-9).

Federer is 2-1 lifetime against Tsonga, including a win in last year's Aussie Open semis.

A fourth-seeded Davydenko set up the rematch with Nadal by conquering 6- foot-10 Croat Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-5 in Thursday's nightcap. The massive- serving Karlovic uncorked 14 aces, but had his serve broken twice while Davydenko held throughout to move on.

Davydenko is 5-4 all-time against Nadal, including wins in three straight and four of their last five meetings.

The winner of this $1.11 million event will pocket $177,000.


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