Federer, Nadal grind out wins
Wed, 05 Jan 19:55:00 2011
After thrilling the crowd on Tuesday with one of his 'between-the-legs' trick shots, the Swiss world number two laboured to a 7-6 7-5 victory in one hour and 48 minutes.
Twice former champion Federer made little impression on his opponent's serve during a tight first set and trailed by a break in the second before recovering to clinch victory with a smash.
It was far from vintage Federer, though, and the 16-times Grand Slam champion appeared to be playing within himself for long periods against a player he had beaten on their only previous meeting.
World number one Rafa Nadal suffered a rare second-set meltdown before recovering to beat plucky Slovakian Lukas Lacko and join Federer in the quarter-finals.
Nadal, who has been suffering from a fever this week, took the first set on a tie-break after both men had traded breaks before collapsing in the second, where he won just 11 points.
It was the first time Nadal had lost a set 6-0 since February 2009 when he was beaten in the final of the World Indoor Tournament in Rotterdam by Britain's Andy Murray.
The Spaniard recovered brightly at the start of the final set to race into a 4-0 lead but dropped his serve for a fifth time in the match before closing out a 7-6 0-6 6-3 victory.
ATP Doha : Round 2
"It was really, really difficult," said Nadal, who is seeded to meet Federer in the final and will play Latvian fifth seed Ernests Gulbis for a place in the last four.
"Lukas played a great match and if he plays at this level it is going to be difficult for everyone to beat him."
Third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, making his comeback from injury, moved into the quarter-finals with a 6-2 6-4 defeat of Ukraine's Sergei Bubka, son of the former Olympic pole vault champion of the same name, and will face Spanish seventh seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez for a place in the last four.Reuters