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Federer Beats Lopez, Youzhny Next; Tsonga-Del Potro Set

Dubai, UAE

Federer© Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsRoger Federer will play Mikhail Youzhny in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

Four-time former champion and second seed Roger Federer dropped 12 points on his serve and struck 12 aces past two-time runner-up Feliciano Lopez of Spain for a 7-5, 6-3 victory on Wednesday night at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Federer, who lifted his 71st tour-level title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. del Potro) earlier this month, improved to 10-0 lifetime against Lopez, who he beat in the 2004 final. Federer has held 129 of his 136 service games against Lopez.

"I just tried to focus on my serve, made sure from that end I wasn't doing any stupid stuff, and at the end I got a bit of a read on his serve," said Federer. "At the end of the set, [I] had some chances and eventually was able to come through, even though I had chances at 5-4 and I think four set points.

"It's hard against him because he always gets the break points on his favorite side. With his lefty swinger, it obviously makes it extremely difficult, especially with the one hand. But I found a way and stayed calm and came through. Those are the kind of matches you need early on in a tournament to feel good about how you're handling those tough moments."

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World No. 3 Federer, now 13-2 on the season, will next challenge 2007 and 2010 finalist Mikhail Youzhny of Russia, currently No. 34 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, who beat sixth-seeded American Mardy Fish 6-2, 7-6(0) in one hour and 48 minutes.

Assessing his next opponent, Federer admitted, "He was in the Top 10, semis of the US Open, and I've had my fair share of tough matches with him over the years. He's very talented. He's got one the best one handed backhands in the game and reads the plays well. He has got a good slice and has good control. In quick conditions like this, if you have good control makes it a tough opponent to play against."

Eighth seed Juan Martin del Potro saved all three break points he faced and hit eight aces to beat qualifier Andrey Golubev 6-4, 6-2 in 75 minutes.

Fourth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will meet del Potro on Thursday in a repeat of the Open 13 semi-final in Marseille, which the Argentine won. "I played against him last week," said Tsonga. "I lost it. It was not easy. I played a good match, but he played well. I know tomorrow it's going to be the same. It's going to be difficult for sure."

Tsonga hit 10 aces to defeat Czech Lukas Rosol 6-3, 6-4 in 68 minutes in the final match of day three.

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