DOHA: Roger Federer, moving into a high gear for the first time in 2011, reached his seventh final in nine tournaments as top-seed Rafael Nadal bowed out of the Qatar Open.
The Swiss claimed a 6-3, 7-6 (7/2) win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while fourth-seed Nikolay Davydenko sent Nadal packing with a 6-3, 6-2 score-line. Federer will now meet Davydenko in the final.
Federer answered the challenge by Tsonga who began to play close to his dynamic best in the second set. The Frenchman then struck the ball with real flair and had the hint of a chance to turn the match his way when he got to deuce on Federer’s serve in the sixth game. But that just raised the Grand Slam record holder to new heights, and he won the last 18 points on his delivery without reply.
“It was a good match,” said Federer. “It became a high quality match in the second set and it was right that it went to a tie-break because Tsonga played well too.”
Federer lost his opening service game and there were moments when his frustration showed. Tsonga nevertheless kept up a decent ratio of net attacks. From 3-3 in the second set, though Federer’s serve was impeccable.
Federer then completed the contest in the tie-break with a display of speed and power, moving fast to another Tsonga drop volley, and launching two thunderous smashes towards the end to seal his win.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 8th, 2011.
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