Defending champion Djokovic to face Murray in Dubai semifinals

Novak Djokovic faced a tough battle against his Serbian rival Janko Tipsarevic in Dubai.

Story highlights

  • Three-time defending champion Novak Djokovic reaches Dubai semifinals
  • He beat fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic to revenge ATP World Tour Finals defeat
  • Djokovic to face Andy Murray in repeat of their Australian Open epic
  • Four-time champion Roger Federer also through to last four

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic fought off fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic Thursday to earn a semifinal match in Dubai against third seed Andy Murray.

It will be a repeat of their epic last-four clash at the Australian Open in January, when Djokovic prevailed in five sets on his way to his fifth grand slam crown.

Both he and Murray are playing their first tournament since their Melbourne exertions but both have shown little signs of ring rust.

Three-time defending Dubai champion Djokovic saved a set point in the second-set tiebreaker before beating Tipsarevic 6-1 7-6, while Murray saw off the fifth seed Tomas Berdych 6-3 7-5.

Victory for Djokovic was revenge for a defeat to his Davis Cup teammate at the ATP World Tour Finals in London last November and he acknowledged that he was fortunate the match had not gone to a deciding set.

"He was very close to take that second set," the top seed told the official ATP website.

"Then who knows what could have happened. We both got a little bit nervous towards the end, I guess, and it was just luck to prevail."

Murray claimed his first win over Berdych in seven years and made the perfect start to break the Czech in the second game of the opener to take a one-set lead.

The Scot twice broke in the second set, only for the big-hitting Berdych to retrieve them. But a further break in the 11th game proved decisive and he eventually claimed victory in one hour and 51 minutes.

"I had a great match with him in Australia, and hopefully can reverse the result tomorrow," Murray said of Friday's clash with Djokovic.

Meanwhile, second seed Roger Federer continued his quest for a fifth Dubai title and improved to 12-0 against Mikhail Youzhny with a 6-3 6-4 win over the Russia to reach the last four.

He will battle Juan Martin del Potro for a place in the final after the Argentine got past fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 6-2.

It was eighth seed del Potro's second win over the Frenchman in a week, beating him in Marseille on the way to the title.

But he lost to Federer in this year's Rotterdam final and has a 2-9 record against the Swiss maestro.