Federer sets up Coric clash in Dubai

World No. 2 Roger Federer is one step closer to claiming an unprecedented seventh Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title after Richard Gasquet retired down 1-6 due to lower back pain in their quarter-final match on Thursday.

"I know enough about the back, and I know how horrible it is to play with that and how much worse it can sometimes become," said a sympathetic Federer. "It's maybe better not to take any chances at this point."

Federer completed the first set in just 20 minutes, taking advantage of a hobbled Gasquet, who triumphed over Roberto Bautista Agut in a tight three-set match on Wednesday. Federer tallied three aces in the set, leaving him eight short of reaching the historic 9,000 mark.

"I think I played well," Federer said. "I served well. Then again, the test was so short that it's tough to judge on a 20-minute match. But, you know, I think I was hitting the ball well again, like yesterday. I felt able to play aggressive and do what I was hoping to do, so I was very pleased, actually."

The Swiss has spent just two hours and 16 minutes on the court in his first three matches.

He’ll meet the face of the next generation in the semi-finals, after 18-year-old lucky loser Borna Coric upset No. 3 seed Andy Murray 6-1, 6-3. The Croatian teenager, named the 2014 ATP Star of Tomorrow Award, scored the second Top 10 win of his young career, dispatching Murray in 79 minutes.

"He seems to really play up when it matters against the better players," Federer said of his next opponent. "Today I think it was a great victory. I didn't see any of the match, so I can't tell about Murray's level. But regardless of the level, to beat Murray 6-1, 6-3, it was, it's a great score. Because historically Murray has played very well here in Dubai. It's definitely a message I get."

Coric announced his arrival last fall by upsetting Rafael Nadal en route to the Swiss Indoors Basel semi-finals. Perhaps it is fitting that the World No. 84 is the first teenager to reach the Dubai semi-finals since Nadal clinched the title as a 19 year old in 2006.

Date: 26th February 2015, Source: ATP


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