Federer to take on Nadal in Dubai final

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/a/aprogerfederer.jpg' class='caption'> Top-ranked Roger Federer will play No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the Dubai Open final on Saturday, one day after both had straight-set semifinal wins.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Top-ranked Roger Federer will play No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the Dubai Open final on Saturday, one day after both had straight-set semifinal wins. Federer, aiming for his third straight title and 16-0 this year after winning the Doha and Australian Opens, beat Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-2, 6-3. Nadal, playing only his second tournament since winning the Masters Series Madrid in October, won 6-4, 6-2 over Germany's Rainer Schuettler. Nadal leads 2-1 head-to-head against Federer, and won in four sets in their last meeting at the 2005 French Open semifinals en route to his only Grand Slam title. "Tomorrow is going to be a very special match," Nadal said. "I am very happy to make it to the finals in only my second tournament after four months. Federer is a finals specialist, but I have won my last 10 finals too." Problems for FedEx Federer had problems with his serve throughout the first set against Youzhny. He saved three break points at 0-40 in his opening two service games, was 0-30 down in the fifth, and had to save another breakpoint in the seventh game. "He had several chances in the first set and he could have put pressure on me by taking them," said Federer, who broke Youzhny in the second game. "It was windy out there and I was missing a lot of first serves. "But as long as I play the point well, I really don't mind. I just asked myself to concentrate and picked up my game in the second set." Youzhny defied Federer in the second game of the second set for 14 minutes before being broken on a double fault. The Swiss star produced some magical shots - including a down-the-line flick with his back to the net - to win the match in 66 minutes. "It is not possible to play your best tennis all the time. You rarely play your best tennis," Federer said. "All I want to do is play good, solid, tough tennis most of the time. "I was very happy with my game today, and I think it was a good match." Nadal breaks Schuettler Schuettler, the 2003 Australian Open runner-up who is now ranked 98th, mixed his shots up and came to the net against Nadal. But Nadal broke Schuettler twice in each set, and dropped serve just once in the first, to win the match comfortably. The Spaniard won 78 per cent of points on his first serve. "Schuettler is a rhythm player and I like playing against such guys on days when I am playing well," Nadal said. "Today, I felt very good while practicing before the match, and that feeling continued during the match too. I was particularly happy with the way I served." Asked what will give him the edge in the final, Nadal said: "If Federer doesn't play at his best." (AP)

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