Federer, Djokovic ease into semis

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 2:41 PM ET

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Four-time winner Roger Federer and two-time reigning champion Novak Djokovic were easy quarterfinal winners Thursday at the $2.233 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

The top-seeded former world No. 1 Federer cruised past Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-3, 6-4, while the second-seeded Djokovic handled ever- improving German Florian Mayer 7-5, 6-1 on the hardcourts at Dubai Tennis Stadium.

Djokovic trailed Mayer 3-5 in the opening set before roaring back to win 10 of the next 11 games.

"The ball was going faster today, and he took it to me from the start," Djokovic said after beating Mayer. "Already first game he was on the net, twice, three times. I was not moving my legs well. I was making lots of unforced errors."

Federer captured this event from 2003-05 and again in 2007. Djokovic defeated Russian star Mikhail Youzhny, a two-time finalist here, in last year's Dubai finale.

The high-flying Djokovic captured his second Australian Open title last month and was last year's U.S. Open runner-up to Rafael Nadal.

Up next for the 16-time major champion Federer will be sweet-swinging Frenchman Richard Gasquet, while Djokovic's opponent in Friday's semifinals will be third-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych. Federer is 7-1 lifetime against Gasquet, with all seven wins coming in their last seven encounters, while Djokovic is 5-1 versus the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Berdych.

Berdych topped German Philipp Petzschner 7-5, 6-4, while Gasquet overcame fellow former top-10 Frenchman Gilles Simon 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 on Day 4 here.

The 2011 Dubai titlist will earn $386,000.


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