Sports

Djokovic, Federer to meet in marquee Dubai final

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (SportsNetwork.com) - Top-seeded four-time champion Novak Djokovic and six-time titlist Roger Federer will compete in Saturday's 1-versus-2 final at the $2 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

Friday's semifinals saw the world No. 1 Djokovic, playing in his eighth straight Dubai semi, hold off fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-0, 5-7, 6-4 in just over two hours and the second-seeded former top-ranked great Federer whip lucky loser and rising 18-year-old Croat Borna Coric 6-2, 6-1 in a mere 57 minutes.

"I can see why he has so far caused difficulties for some of the top guys and he still has a lot of room for improvement in his game," Federer said about Coric, who stunned Andy Murray here on Thursday. "He does a really good job for a big guy. It's unbelievable how in the past 10 years we have seen so many big guys moving well from the baseline. I think he returns very well, especially off second serves, and that's such a huge part of today's game, I believe."

Meanwhile, Djokovic is now 18-2 lifetime against Berdych, including a win in the 2013 Dubai final and a 2011 semifinal here.

"I was not the lucky one, but I can still find couple of things which are positive [and] are negative," said Berdych. "It was a close game, but that's how it is. So I was trying to get my chances, but not at the end."

Federer beat the 2013 and 2014 runner-up Berdych in last year's Dubai final on the hardcourts at Aviation Tennis Centre.

Djokovic and Federer will meet for a 37th time, with the Swiss icon holding a 19-17 lifetime advantage. Federer has won two of their last three meetings. The Swiss legend topped the Serb in the semis here a year ago, while the Serb prevailed in the 2011 final. Federer also bested Djokovic in a quarterfinal in Dubai back in 2007.

The 27-year-old Djokovic is seeking career title No. 50 in his 72nd final, while the 33-year-old Federer seeks title No. 84 in his 126th final.

The reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic beat Federer in last year's Wimbledon finale.

Djokovic and Federer will now have combined for the last seven and 11 of the last 13 championships in Dubai.

Saturday's big winner will earn $505,000.