Djokovic to play Ferrer in Dubai final

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STRETCHED? Yes! Novak Djokovic was tested by Gilles Simon before prevailing in three sets in the semifinals of the Dubai Open on Friday.
STRETCHED? Yes! Novak Djokovic was tested by Gilles Simon before prevailing in three sets in the semifinals of the Dubai Open on Friday.

Bhupathi-Knowles duo exits; Bopanna and Niemenin move up

DUBAI: Novak Djokovic beat back the challenge of France’s Gilles Simon to advance the final of the Dubai Open here on Friday. He will meet fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer who beat Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-2.

The top-seeded Serb, who lost the first game 3-6, rallied to take the next two 7-5, 7-5 in a long-drawn encounter that lasted nearly two hours 45 minutes.

“I feel a bit lucky, but I think you have to work for luck,” Djokovic said. “It doesn’t just fall through the sky. I think I fought my way through in the match, really believed until the end, and mentally, this is a very important win for me.”

Meanwhile in doubles, second seeded Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles squandered chances aplenty to go down 7-6(4), 6-2 against Rik De Voest and Dmitry Tursonov in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Bhupathi and Knwoles saved three breakpoints in the second set but were broken twice and lost the match in one hour and 17 minutes.

Fish in last eight

At Delray Beach, American top seed Mardy Fish needed only 68 minutes to defeat Vince Spadea 6-4, 6-1 and reach the quarterfinals of the Delray Beach International on Thursday.

Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis ousted Israel’s Dudi Sela 7-6, 6-3 to also enter the quarterfinals.

In doubles action, Rohan Bopanna and Jarrko Niemenin advanced to the quarterfinals after a hard fought 6-4, 7-5 win against Paul Capdeville and Evgeny Korolev in the opening round.

Acasuso moves up

At Acapulco, Jose Acasuso broke Tommy Robredo at the end of both sets to win their fourth clash in four weeks 7-5, 6-2 in the Acapulco Open quarterfinals on Thursday.

Meanwhile, top-seeded Venus Williams and defending champion Flavia Pennetta remained on course to meet in the women’s final.

Williams overcame Hungarian qualifier Agnes Szavay 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

Second-seeded Pennetta maintained her bid for a sixth successive final in Acapulco by overcoming Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.

The results:

At Dubai (ATP Dubai Open): Singles: Semifinals: Novak Djokovic bt Gilles Simon 3-6, 7-5, 7-5; David Ferrer bt Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-2. Doubles quarterfinals: Rik De Voest & Dmitry Tursonov bt Mahesh Bhupathi & Mark Knowles 7-6(4), 6-2.

At Delray Beach (ATP Delray Beach International Championships): Singles: Second round: Marcos Baghdatis bt Dudi Sela 7-6(7), 6-3; Jeremy Chardy bt Andrey Golubev 7-6(4), 7-5; Florent Serra bt Mischa Zverev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4; Mardy Fish bt Vince Spadea 6-4, 6-1.

Doubles: First round: Rohan Bopanna & Jarrko Niemenin bt Paul Capdeville & Evgeny Korolev 6-4, 7-5.

At Acapulco (ATP & WTA Acapulco Open):

Men: Quarterfinals: Martin Vassallo bt Daniel Koellerer 6-3, 7-6(6); Nicolas Almagro bt Daniel Gimeno 6-2, 7-6(2); Jose Acasuso bt Tommy Robredo 7-5, 6-2; Gael Monfils bt Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 6-7(4), 4-1 retd.

Women: Quarterfinals: Iveta Benesova bt Mathilde Johansson 6-1, 6-3; Flavia Pennetta bt Petra Cetkovska 2-6, 6-3, 6-0; Barbora Zahlavova bt Maret Ani 4-6, 7-5, 6-1; Venus Williams bt Agnes Szavay 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. — Agencies

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