In a long-awaited showdown between master and apprentice, Roger Federer took down Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 in the quarterfinals today in Basel.
Federer flew out to a quick first set in under 40 minutes, twice breaking an overwhelmed Dimitrov. But the Bulgarian nosed out ahead in the second. Then with momentum on his side Dimitrov failed to serve it out, and Federer took the match in a tiebreak much to the delight of Swiss crowd.
“Tonight was one of those nights where I was able to win the right points, but it was bit of an up and down match from both sides,” Federer said after his first match against Dimitrov.
Federer, who appears to be days from officially securing a spot in London, moves on to play another youngster, 23-year-old Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the semis on Saturday.
In the other semi, top seed and 300-match winner Juan Martin Del Potro duel Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
“It’s a pleasure winning my 300th match on tour, doing it here in Basel, against Mathieu,” said Del Potro who is defending his 2012 Basel title this week. “I think I played really well. I don’t know if I deserved that, but it’s like a gift for all my efforts for many, many years of work. I am looking forward to [trying to] reach the final once again. I am trying to go far and repeat what I did last year.”
In Valencia, the semis pit David Ferrer against Nicolas Almagro and Dimitry Tursunov vs. Mikhail Youzhny.
The semifinals are set at the year-end WTA Championship in Istanbul. Emerging from the Red group are Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova. From the White it’s Li Na and Jelena Jankovic.
The semis tomorrow will feature Serena against Jankovic. Li Na will face Kvitova. Both Williams and Li na capped their perfect round robin runs this week. Three-time champ Serena is rolling having her last 13 matches at the event. Li Na knocked out a weary world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 6-1.
“I know this is not the best way to win the match,” Li said afterwards. “I saw her a little bit bothered with her back but she kept playing, so it was very tough for me mentally.
“If she were healthy she would have been a very tough opponent today. Unfortunately she wasn’t healthy. I have to enjoy this moment, but I hope the injury isn’t too bad and she can come back soon.”
Kvitova, who gained a semifinal berth beating fellow lefty Angelique Kerber today, is looking forward to face Li.
“She’s a good friend of mine,” said Kvitova who is 31-4 indoors since the start of 2011. “It’s always good to play against her and it’s always a tough match. We just played three sets in Beijing. But right now I’m just really happy about my win today – I really wanted to get to the semifinals this week. But of course it’s going to be tough tomorrow.”
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Previews: WTA Finals; ATP Basel, Valencia