Federer's team leave nothing to chance

You would have thought he had seen it all before, but Roger Federer has had the unusual experience here this week of playing three opponents in a row whom he had never met before. The results, nevertheless, have been familiar. Sergiy Stakhovsky last night went the way of Somdev Devvarman and Marcel Granollers as Federer booked his place in today's semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Championships with a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory.

Stakhovsky, a 25-year-old Ukrainian ranked No 43 in the world, started well enough, going into a 40-0 lead in Federer's second service game, only for the world No 2 to respond by holding serve with four successive aces. Stakhovsky had three more break points in the second set but Federer always looked in control. He now plays Richard Gasquet, who beat Gilles Simon, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

Never one to take anything for granted, Federer has been discussing future opponents this week with Severin Luthi, his Davis Cup captain and regular touring partner, and Paul Annacone, who joined his entourage last summer. Luthi, who is here, watched Stakhovsky's previous match against Ernests Gulbis, while Annacone, the former coach of Pete Sampras and Tim Henman, has been in regular contact on the telephone.

Federer's professionalism is such that he has given up playing any other sports except table tennis. The last time he skied was three years ago, when a session on the slopes ended in a relapse into glandular fever, while he was put off football after playing for a whole week during a tournament in Switzerland 10 years ago. "I couldn't move at the end," he said. The 29-year-old Swiss has stopped playing squash, while even golf could be off the agenda after he felt a twinge in his back after playing a round recently.

Federer is aiming for his fifth title here, while Novak Djokovic is attempting to win the tournament for the third year in a row. The world No 3 dropped his opening service game against Florian Mayer but coasted to a 7-5, 6-1 victory. Djokovic now meets Tomas Berdych.

Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
i100Most young people can't
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home