Belfast Telegraph

Davydenko slays Federer to set up Nadal battle

Roger Federer crashed out of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha at the semi-final stage as he again came unstuck against Nikolay Davydenko.

The Russian, who beat the world number one in their last meeting in the semis at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, triumphed 6-4 6-4 in one hour 20 minutes.

Davydenko will play Rafael Nadal in the final after the Spaniard earlier made short work of Viktor Troicki.

Federer faced 10 break points against the third seed as his serve let him down badly, his 55% of first serves paling in comparison to Davydenko's 79%.

The Swiss saved seven of those break opportunities, including five in the first set, but managed just a solitary break of serve himself.

World number two Nadal cruised to a 6-1 6-3 win over fifth-seeded Serbian Troicki in one hour seven minutes.

The Spaniard converted three of his four break points in a one-sided opening set, winning an impressive 65% of points on Troicki's first serve.

Nadal set up four more break opportunities in the second set, taking two, as the Serbian again struggled to cope with the four-time French Open winner's powerful returns.

Troicki also claimed a late break of his own, but it merely delayed the inevitable.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray believes his form is good enough to help him break his grand slam duck at the Australian Open.

The world number four has started the year in irresistible touch at the Hopman Cup in Perth to spearhead Great Britain's charge into the final for the first time.

Murray and his playing partner Laura Robson booked their place in today's title decider against Spain after they defeated Russia 2-1 to maintain an unbeaten record in the tournament. Murray has been particularly impressive and, after spending less than two hours on court to win his opening two singles matches, the 22-year-old produced his best display yet to crush Igor Andreev 6-1 6-0.

The big-hitting Russian, ranked 35 in the world, had no answer to Murray's muscular ground-strokes.

“If I play like that then I can win Australia for sure,” said Murray.

“I didn't feel like I was making any bad decisions. I didn't feel like I was overplaying and it was just lucky shots that were coming off. But I need to make sure I do it in a couple of weeks and play like that from the start of the tournament to the end.”

Belfast Telegraph


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