ATP Dubai Tennis Championships: Djokovic, Federer and Berdych all reach last eight
Novak Djokovic eased into the quarter-finals of the Dubai Championships with a routine win over Roberto Bautista Agut.
Last Updated: 26/02/14 9:45pm
Defending his title and looking to match Roger Federer by winning the event for a fifth time, Djokovic defeated Bautista Agut 6-1 6-3 to advance with something to spare.
The Serb broke his opponent twice in the first set and then three times in the second as he wrapped up a predictably one-sided success in a little under an hour.
Djokovic will now face Mikhail Youzhny in the last eight after the Russian ended the hopes of British No 3 James Ward.
Ward, who was a wild card for the event and beat another Russian in Teymuraz Gabashvili in the opening round, lost 6-1 7-6 (7/3) to sixth seed Youzhny.
Youzhny, 31, eased through the opening set with two breaks of serve, but the second was a much tighter affair as Ward improved his first serve percentage from 40 to 61.
The players exchanged one break of serve before the decisive tie-break, which Youzhny won 7-3 to book his place in the next round.
Tomas Berdych secured a comfortable win over Sergiy Stakhovsky to set up an exciting quarter-final clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Third-seeded Berdych won through 6-2 6-1 over the Ukrainian to extend his winning streak to eight matches.
Berdych run continues
Despite last year's runner-up having trouble with his first serve, the Rotterdam champion won 12 of the final 14 points to march into the last eight.
"I was working a little more on my return stats than on my service stats," the Czech ace said. "The main focus really for the next days is to get my percentage of the first serve back and really find a nice and sweet rhythm for my serve."
Tsonga won his second-round match by walkover when his opponent, Nikolay Davydenko, withdrew with a rib injury.
It proved a good day for the Czechs after Lukas Rosol upset eighth-seeded Dmitry Tursunov of Russia 6-4 7-6 (4).
Seventh-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber was a 6-3 6-3 winner over Andrea Seppi of Italy and will play Tunisian wild card Malek Jaziri, who bypassed Somdev Devvarman of India 6-3 7-5.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer had to dig deep to progress, eventually beating fellow veteran Radek Stepanek 6-2 6-7 (4) 6-3 in their second round clash.
The 32-year-old Swiss - who has won the Dubai title a record five times - struggled for long periods against a 35-year-old who is barely a full-timer on the ATP Tour these days.
Federer was four times within a point of going 0-3 down in the final set, but once he had held on in that game, and broken back, he created some momentum of his own, and the ace which took him to 4-2 signalled he had turned the tide.