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Dubai Open: Roger Federer Calls Win Over Novak Djokovic Big Step; Swiss Becoming Threat to Rafael Nadal Again

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By Lou Ramon Aguila | March 1, 2014 11:59 PM EST

Former world's no.1 Roger Federer proved once again that he's still a force to be reckoned with in men's tennis, following his sensational 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, win over Novak Djokovic on Friday in the semifinal of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.

Reuters
Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerland hug at the net, after Nadal won their men's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne

Federer, who reached the semifinal of the Australian Open, considered the win against his Serbian rival as huge development in his progress towards recapturing his elite form after a miserable campaign last season.

"This is big. This is a big step in the right direction for me. It gives me a lot of confidence, I hope. Physically I'm doing very well again, still holding up perfectly, and clearly it's been a lot of tennis now again this week. I just hope I can finish it well tomorrow," Federer told reporters during the post-game interview via ATP News.

Federer said his consistency and aggressiveness proved to be the difference-makers in the match against Djokovic, who's surprisingly having a hard time this year despite taking the service of head coach Boris Becker.

"I think I was able to play a bit more aggressively as the match went on," said Federer. "I knew I was in a bit of trouble (after the first set) and not looking good at all, because he has a tendency to really run with it and play more freely on your serve. He plays very dangerous.

"It was just a matter of trying to play consistent but remain aggressive. Sometimes being also overly aggressive to see if it works. If it doesn't, then you can always pull back a little bit. Clearly it was close, but I think I got the right balance, just the right balance. Then I started to serve very well, something I haven't been able to do really this week yet. I knew to have a chance today I needed to serve well. So I'm just very happy I was able to deliver that."

Federer will have a chance to win his first title since the Halle Open on Saturday against hard-hitting Czech Tomas Berdych, who booked a 7-5, 7-5, win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Federer Slowly Becoming Treat To Rafael Nadal - Again!

Despite his straight loss to his Spanish archrival Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open, Federer seems to have finally found the perfect formula in beating the top-two players in the rankings today.

Djokovic has been shaky for the past couple of months, while Nadal has been hampered with a back injury since the Australian Open. Though Nadal's victory in Rio is impressive, the tournament is played on clay-court - which he's automatic to win anyway.

This March, Nadal's mettle and knee will be tested again when the ATP Tour shifts to the United States for the Indian Wells and Miami Masters.

Nadal is the defending Indian Wells Champion, but Federer - buoyed by his big win against Djokovic and possibly another title in a tough Doha tourney - could be a real threat to the Spaniard's quest of winning these tournaments. 

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerland hug at the net, after Nadal won their men's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne
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