Federer's team leave nothing to chance
Friday 25 February 2011
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.
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Liverpool injury news: Brendan Rodgers could be without up to seven players for Burnley game... as Jordon Ibe posts picture of knee brace
Arsenal shareholders Stan Kroenke, Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri appear on Forbes' rich list - with a combined net worth of £14.9bn
Watch the moment a basketball player reassures a small boy after a mass brawl erupted on court
Jon Stewart brings The Daily Show to WWE Raw as Seth Rollins pays the price for feud with TV presenter
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin