The 2nd seed and the seven-time Dubai champion Roger Federer has notched his 50th win at one of his favorite tournaments, defeating Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in quick 94 minutes, toppling the Spaniard for the seventh time in as many matches.
Serving at 71%, Federer fired ten aces and he fought off two out of three break points he faced, losing the second part of the match but finding the way to steal Verdasco's serve once in sets he won to book the place in the quarter-final where he will face Marton Fucsovics.
Roger was off to a flying start but he couldn't stay on the same level after the opening 20 minutes, struggling to find the rhythm on the return and move Fernando from his forehand wing. The Spaniard even had a break point at the start of the decider although Federer saved it and brought the match home after winning 12 of the last 14 points.
The Swiss had 36 winners and 27 unforced errors, beating Verdasco's 13-21 ratio and staying on the title course, seeking that 100th ATP trophy. The first set lasted less than 30 minutes and Federer grabbed it after a superb display on serve, breaking Verdasco in game four thanks to a double fault from the Spaniard, sealing the deal with a service winner in game nine for a 6-3.
Fernando fended off a break point at the start of the second set and that gave him a lot of confidence, barely losing a point on serve in the remaining games and stealing Roger's serve in game two when the Swiss sent a backhand long.
Verdasco was on fire in his service games by the end of the set, delivering quick and easy points with the initial shot and forehand, sealing it with three service winners in game nine to send the clash into a decider. There, Roger repelled a break point in game three with a service winner and he never looked back, winning the last 14 points on serve and breaking Fernando with a forehand winner at the net in game eight, moving 5-3 up and serving for the triumph.
The crowd favorite wrapped up a win with three winners in game nine, celebrating his 50th win in Dubai and hoping for another good run against Marton Fucosvics on Thursday.