Djokovic passes Lopez test
Serbian star pushed to three sets as Berdych sees off Davydenko
By Elliot Ball. Last Updated: 23/02/11 7:15pm
Djokovic: Overcame Lopez in three
Novak Djokovic is through to the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, but was made to work for his place in the last eight by Feliciano Lopez.
The two-time defending champion was pushed the distance by the unseeded Spaniard before registering a 6-3 2-6 6-4 victory in a contest that lasted the best part of two hours.
Djokovic, who won the Australian Open last month, is after his third successive title in Dubai and looked like he would cruise into the next round after taking the first set.
However, serious questions were raised when Lopez began penetrating the Serb's defences and the world number 41 sent the match into a decider.
But world number three Djokovic finally found his form in a topsy-turvy deciding set to extend his 11-match winning streak at the ATP 500 tournament and next meets German Florian Mayer for a place in the semis.
"It's been an exciting match, to be honest, even though I was struggling," said the second seeded Djokovic. "I don't think I've played bad, actually. He played really well in the second set."
Tomas Berdych could meet Djokovic in the last four after overcoming a second set fightback by Nikolay Davydenko to book his spot in the quarter-finals.
The number three seed won 6-3 7-6 (7/5) but had to survive a tense climax to the match which saw Davydenko miss out on two set points at 5-4 in the second.
World number seven Berdych, who had only beaten the Russian once previously, said: "It was quite a big test for me. Especially against Nikolay, it's tough because he likes to play fast. He likes to play long rallies, and he's very solid from the baseline."
The Czech Republic star is pitted against Phillip Petzschner in the last eight after the German out-hit compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber to win 6-0 4-6 6-2.