Dubai: Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic extended his unbeaten run in 2013 to 11 matches on Thursday, routing Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-0, 6-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Championships. The top-ranked Serb improved to 10-0 against Seppi as he seeks a fourth title in Dubai. Djokovic broke three times in the first set and once in the second, using a strong first serve in which he won 89 percent of points and a powerful forehand to cruise to victory.
Djokovic will play fourth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, who repeated his semi-final effort last year in dispatching German qualifier Daniel Brands 6-4, 6-2. In the other half of the draw, third-seeded Tomas Berdych beat Russian wild card Dmitry Tursunov for the second time in five days, 6-3, 6-2. Berdych will play either five-time champ Roger Federer or former No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-finals. They play later Thursay.
Del Potro managed to neutralize the big-serving Brands and offered up some of his own firepower, hitting seven aces including six in the first set. He also said his right wrist, which he injured in 2010, was not bothering him as much as it did earlier in the tournament and that he now "could play 100 percent."
The first set was tight as both players held serve through the first nine games until mistakes from the 97th-ranked German allowed Del Potro to break him and win the set. The second was much easier, as Del Potro broke Brands twice - winning the match when Brands double faulted.
"I served well today. I didn't (concede) any break points. I think I took all my chances to break his serve," Del Potro said.
Del Potro said he was satisfied his wrist was holding up, adding he will need it should he come up against Djokovic.
"The good thing is I'm not getting worse. I can hit my backhand often day by day, and it's a good thing to be 100 percent," he said. "I know against Djokovic tomorrow or (Andreas) Seppi I need to hit my backhand 100 percent and then see if I have a little chance to win."
Berdych also served well against Tursunov, hitting nine aces and winning 81 percent of his first-service points. He also did well to move the Russian around the court, aware that Tursunov's sore left hamstring limited his mobility. In a close first set, Berdych broke Tursunov to go up 4-2 and won the set with a love service game. He broke twice go up 4-1 in the second and was never challenged after that.
Berdych said he benefited from Tursunov playing hurt. "I know the situation. If you are in the position of playing one of the top guys and actually you don't feel well, you just have a small issue in your body, it's just a terrible match," Berdych said. "But at least you want to try. You never know what's going to happen. But once you are not really 100 percent ready, then it's tough."
Tursunov, who lost to Berdych last weekend in the Marseille semi-finals, said he was considering pulling out of the Indian Wells qualifiers next week due to the injury.