Nikolay Davydenko of Russia beat top-seed Roger Federer in straight sets to reach the final of the Qatar Open.
Davydenko beat Federer 6-4, 6-4 in one hour 20 minutes.
It was Davydenko’s second win over Federer in 14 meetings on the ATP Tour and the Russian’s first in straight sets over the top-ranked player.
“It was a tough match. A lot of balls everywhere. He tried to create pressure but I came up with winners when I wanted to,” Davydenko said. “I ran a lot and that made me tired, especially in the second set. But I fought for every point. That’s why I won.
“I don’t know for how much longer I can hold this level of tennis.”
Davydenko will meet Rafael Nadal of Spain in the final on Saturday.
“I think it will be a tough match because I have watched Rafa play,” Davydenko said. “He is playing good tennis at the moment. He can play for 10 hours, I can’t. The fans will get to watch a good match (in the final). I am little tired but I am happy with the way I am playing now. I got good support from Russian fans here.”
Nadal and Davydenko have each won four times in head-to-head matches on the tour.
Davydenko got off to a fast start against Federer, breaking him in the third game when the Swiss hit two returns into the net. After going 2-1 up, Davydenko held his serve to close out the set at 6-4 in 37 minutes.
In contrast, Federer struggled with his serve as the Russian produced a number of first serves hovering around the 200kph mark.
“Yeah, he served very well, especially when he needed to. He played better,” Federer said after the match. “I felt my arm from the cold but it is not an excuse. He served well, many 200s out there. He made it difficult as the match went on,” Federer said.
Davydenko kept up the pressure in the second set and again broke an error-prone Federer in the third game. At 2-1 up, the 27-year-old Russian held his serve for the rest of the set to seal his second successive win over Federer.
Federer now heads to Melbourne for the Australian Open. “There is nothing to worry about my arm. I will be fine,” Federer said.