Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal moved within one match win of an opening week final in Doha. Earlier today, Djokovic overcame a break down in the second to turn away Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 7-5.
“[Mayer] started better in both the first and second sets,” Djokovic said after. “He was going for his shots and he’s a very complete player. The second set was close. It could have gone either way, but I stayed tough and fought through it. It was a good test and I’m glad to get through in straight sets.”
Before the World No. 1, Nadal had to go the distance against a very formidable Andrey Kuznetsov before prevailing 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
“Kuznetsov played some amazing shots, so it was difficult to control the match,” Nadal said. “It’s true that I missed my serve more than I wanted to, but I really only played one bad game, at 4-3 in the second set. His returns were amazing and his level was very high. Fortunately I played a great third set, with a lot of intensity.”
Tomas Berdych beat Kyle Edmund and Ilya Marchenko continued his strong week dispatching Jeremy Chardy. Berdych now battles Djokovic in the semifinals Friday while Marchenko, who beat defending champion David Ferrer, meets 2014 Doha winner Nadal. Djokovic has beaten Berdych 21 of 23 times.
“I have played so many times against [him] and we know each other’s game very well,” said Djokovic of the Czech. “We practised few times actually here before the tournament. He’s always very solid. He’s going to come out firing from all corners, especially forehand and serve. His big weapon, if he puts high percentage of first serves in, he can beat anybody, honestly. It’s a bit quicker here, which he likes. He likes the lower bounce and can flatten the ball out. I’m going to have to up my game.”
FRIDAY DOHA SCHEDULE
CENTRE COURT start 4:30 pm
 P. Petzschner (GER) / A. Peya (AUT) vs  F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)
I. Marchenko (UKR) vs  R. Nadal (ESP)
 N. Djokovic (SRB) vs  T. Berdych (CZE)
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