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Federer, Del Potro To Face Off For Rotterdam Crown

Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Del Potro© Henk KosterJuan Martin del Potro reached his 14th career final Saturday.

World No. 3 Roger Federer was tested in his ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament semi-final by Nikolay Davydenko, but prevailed 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win in Rotterdam Saturday. In the final, Federer will square off against Juan Martin del Potro, after the No. 3 seed dismissed World No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-1. "These are the kinds of matches you need to help your confidence," stated Federer.

"Everything started to get better midway through the second set, and that's very encouraging going into the final tomorrow."

Davydenko broke for a 5-4 lead in the first set, and served it out after denying Federer a break point opportunity. He moved ahead 3-1 in the second set, before the top seed reeled off five consecutive games to even the clash at one-set all.

The Swiss had several opportunities to take hold of the match early in the third set, but Davydenko saved four break points in the opening game to hold. The Russian then had his chance to break Federer in the eighth game of the set, pinning his rival in a 0/40 hole. Federer held his nerve, winning five straight points to level at 4-4, and then broke Davydenko at love to take a 5-4 lead. He closed out the encounter on his first match point to advance in two hours and 16 minutes after winning 13 of the last 14 points of the match. "I think my mindset was there," Federer said. 

"Even though I was down 0-40, I knew it wasn't over and that I still had a shot. "I had a winner's mindset. Sometimes you don't have those days, but [today], I believed I could still win and I think that got me over the finish line."

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Against Davydenko, Federer is now 17-2, including a season-opening win at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. He is aiming to win his second title at the ATP World Tour 500 event, having tasted victory in 2005. The 30 year old defeated del Potro in the Australian Open quarter-finals, and holds an 8-2 mark against the former US Open champion.

The third-seeded del Potro cruised past Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-1 to reach the final. "I'm very happy as it's my first victory against a Top 10 player this year. It means a lot for my confidence," del Potro said. "I played a really good match today, my best of this tournament. And now I'm one step from winning the tournament, so I'm working for that goal."

Del Potro won 88 per cent of his first serve points, firing nine aces. He broke the Czech twice in each set to lock up the victory in one hour and 15 minutes, securing his third straight win over Berdych. "I served well and I was really confident with my forehand and backhand," said del Potro. "I took all the chances Tomas gave to me. I broke his serve many times which helped me play more relaxed."

The Argentine, making his debut at the tournament, is bidding to lift his 10th ATP World Tour trophy. He triumphed twice in 2011, at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (d. Tipsarevic) and Estoril Open (d. Verdasco).

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