Here's the Dubai round-up. Well done for F-Lo to play Roger in the final.
RESULTS - SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 2004
Singles – Semifinals
F Lopez (ESP) d M Youzhny (RUS) 64 46 64
(1)R Federer (SUI) d J Nieminen (FIN) 76(7) 62 (saved 3 set points)
Doubles – Semifinals
(1)Bhupathi/Santoro d Pala/Vizner 61 76(4)
(2) Bjorkman/Paes d Nadal/Robredo 63 64
For the Dubai singles draw, go to: http://www.atptennis.com/posting/2004/495/MDS.pdf
For the Dubai doubles draw, go to: http://www.atptennis.com/posting/2004/495/MDD.pdf
ORDER OF PLAY - SUNDAY, MARCH 7, 2004
Centre Court – 7:00 PM
(1) Bhupathi/Santoro vs (2)Bjorkman/Paes (best of three tie-break sets)
Not before 9:00 PM
(1) R Federer (SUI) vs F Lopez (ESP) (best of three tie-break sets)
ATP MEDIA NOTES - SATURDAY, MARCH 6, 2004
WORLD'S TOP LEFT-HANDER TO PLAY WORLD'S TOP PLAYER IN DUBAI FINAL
* Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, the world's top left-handed male tennis player, reached his first ATP final with a 64 46 64 victory over Russian Mikhail Youzhny in the semifinals of The Dubai Tennis Championships. In a match-up of a contrast in styles and looks, Lopez served his way to overcome the Russian. Lopez backed up his serving with all-round play including control, versatility and mixtures of pace which ultimately dominated rallies and created easy volleys to put away.
* Top seed and INDESIT ATP 2004 Race leader Roger Federer, trailed the first set statistics to scrape out with the first set in a tie-breaker 9-7. Jarkko Nieminen held three sets points in the first set tie-breaker but the "Flying Fin" experienced first hand why his opponent is the number one when Federer stepped up with attacking play and ruthless risk-taking. The set points was the last time Nieminen smelt any opportunities as Federer, in true number one fashion, chased the lines and dominated the second set with a magical display of dazzling tennis.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Lopez: "It was a really close match. I played really well at the beginning, then in the second set he was serving so well I couldn't find a way to break him and then he broke me at 4-5. In the third set, it was 50/50 of who would win until 4-4, I broke and then held my serve."
(First ATP final) "I'm so happy. This is my first ATP final and it's at a very big tournament here in Dubai. It's not a small tournament so when you win matches you get so many points and you go up in the rankings and that's the most important thing."
(Bad start to the year) "I played the Davis Cup final in December and then went back home to Spain. However, I did not have time to really prepare for January. In February I played Davis Cup and then took three weeks off with no tournaments, just practicing and training hard, that's why I play good now."
(Playing Federer in the final) "I played Roger twice last year. When we played in Wimbledon, I played really good, but he was playing unbelievable at the time. Then we played in Madrid (indoors), I was really close to winning. I had 64 44 and 0-40 on his serve and then got out of it and I lost my opportunity. It's not easy to play against Roger, he's the best player in the world. I told everybody two years ago that he would become number one. I just have to go on court and do the best I can and to put him in trouble. If he plays good everybody knows he will be difficult.
Youzhny: "It was a good match but I think he served better for the whole of the match. He broke me in the third set and then kept holding."
Federer: "It was really difficult. I'm almost happy playing a leftie again tomorrow because to face those different spins all the time is not easy. I thought about the last time I played against a leftie and it was Jarkko last year in Vienna. I'm really not used to it, there's not many around and we could see clearly that I was struggling and missing a lot of easy shots. That's because you think the ball is going one way and it goes another, and it took me some time. Once again, my serve saved me out of some trouble and I had to play aggressive."
(Against Lopez) "It's going to be a different match because he (Lopez) plays with a one-handed backhand so he's going to slice his backhand more and this will change the whole tactic of the game. I've never lost to him on the Tour but I'm looking forward to a difficult one, because he must be very confident."
Nieminen: "I had three set points in the tie-breaker and on two of those I had pretty good chances but I went for a little too much with two unforced errors. It's a shame I couldn't take the first as it would have been interesting how the match would go after that. Then the second set I had chances to break but I couldn't then he just played too good, and if you don't take chances against Roger then you lose."
* Roger Federer takes on Spain's Feliciano Lopez, as the leader in the INDESIT ATP 2004 Race looks to become the first back-to-back winner of this prestigious event in the Middle East. Goran Ivanisevic reached consecutive finals in 1996 and 1997, as did Nicolas Kiefer in 1999 and 2000, but no one has won this event twice. Nieminen is looking for his first appearance in an ATP final since the BMW Open in Munich last year, when he lost to Federer in straight sets. If Federer wins in the final, it will take him to 16 wins from 17 matches for 2004. With a large number of Swiss supporters, the "Federer Express" is on a roll without dropping a set this week.
* Feliciano Lopez could possibly break into the top 20 if he wins the Dubai title. This is the first ATP final that Lopez appears in. Lopez is 0-2 lifetime against Federer.
* Former doubles partners and Indian Davis Cup team members, Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes go up against each other with their respective partners in doubles final. Bhupathi's partner, Fabrice Santoro is the 2004 Australian Open Champion and are the number one seeds and play Paes who is teamed up with Jonas Bjorkman, the number two seeds.
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) vs Roger Federer (SUI) Federer Leads 2-0
03 Wimbledon (England) Grass R16 Roger Federer 7-6(5) 6-4 6-4
03 Madrid TMS (Spain) Hard QF Roger Federer 4-6 7-6(3) 6-4
YTD W-L: 5-3
YTD Titles: 0
Career Titles: 0
Date of Birth: September 20, 1981
INDESIT ATP 2004 Race: 138T
INDESIT ATP Entry Ranking: 32
W: Australian Open (d Safin); QF: Rotterdam (l Henman);
YTD W-L: 15-1
YTD Titles: 1
Career Titles: 12
Date of Birth: August 8, 1981
INDESIT ATP 2004 Race: 1
INDESIT ATP Entry Ranking: 1