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Novak sets up Murray date

- Bhupathi-Bopanna reach quarter finals
Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning against Janko Tipsarevic, on Thursday

Dubai: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 7-6 in the quarter finals of Dubai Tennis Championships, on Thursday, to set up a meeting with Andy Murray in the last four.

Murray, who wasted six match points and overcame a knee injury to beat Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, faces Djokovic for the first time since the Serb triumphed in a five-set epic in the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

Roger Federer is also through to the semi-finals after beating Mikhail Youzhny 6-3, 6-4 and will face either Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro or France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday.

Mahesh Bhuapthi and Rohan Bopanna have progressed to the quarter finals but Chennai Open winners Leander Paes and Janko Tipsarevic were ousted after first round defeat.

Fourth seeded Indian pair of Bhupathi and Bopanna faced a stiff resistance from Lukas Ouhy and Alexandr Dolgopolov before winning 6-4, 7-5 in the opening round. They now face Paul Hanley and Jamie Murray.

Unseeded pair of Paes and Tipsarevic lost 4-6, 5-7 to second seeds Robert Lindstedt and Horia Teacu.

Djokovic, seeking a fourth straight Dubai title, bullied Tipsarevic from the outset, breaking to go 3-1 ahead in the first set of their night encounter.

Tipsarevic, ranked a career-high ninth in the world, put up little resistance, netting a lazy backhand to give Djokovic a double break and an unassailable 5-1 lead. He made a better fist of the second set, matching Djokovic’s pounding groundstrokes in a series of ferocious rallies from the baseline.

Yet the bespectacled Tipsarevic remained erratic. Serving at 2-2, he dispatched three aces and two double faults in the space of six points as he eventually held.

The set went to a tiebreak. Tipsarevic, serving second, went 3-0 up with a brilliant forehand winner down the line.

Djokovic came back to level at 4-4, but a mis-hit gifted Tipsarevic a set point on serve. Yet the 27-year-old’s demons returned as he made another double fault and Djokovic eventually saw out the match with a forehand winner to clinch the tiebreak 8-6.

“It was a very tense second set,” Djokovic said in a court-side interview.“Towards the end, we both had chances and both got quite nervous and made some unforced errors.        

“We’ve known each other for a very long time and there are no secrets. We’re very good friends, but we're both professionals.”

(Agencies)