Salisbury JournalFederer books Dubai final spot (From Salisbury Journal)

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Federer books Dubai final spot

Salisbury Journal: Roger Federer, pictured, beat Novak Djokovic to progress to the final (AP) Roger Federer, pictured, beat Novak Djokovic to progress to the final (AP)

Roger Federer battled back from a set down to beat fierce rival Novak Djokovic and book his place in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Federer had not beaten the world number two since August 2012, with the Serbian winning their last three encounters, including the final of the ATP Tour World Tour Finals.

But despite losing the first set, Federer came storming back after a short rain delay and sealed a 3-6 6-3 6-2 victory in an hour and 45 minutes to set up a clash with Tomas Berdych.

Djokovic appeared on course for his fourth consecutive victory over Federer - and level their overall head-to-head at 16-16 - after wrapping up the first set in clinical fashion.

But the Swiss took advantage of a delay due to rain to gather himself, and he sealed a break in the sixth game to take the match into a decider.

The 17-time grand slam champion immediately broke his opponent in the third set and saved two break points to consolidate his break.

Federer, now world number eight in the world rankings, broke once more to go 4-1 ahead and end the resistance of Djokovic, whose hopes of winning his first ATP Tour title this year were swiftly halted.

I think I was able to play a bit more aggressively as the match went on," Federer told the ATP Tour's official website.

"I knew I was in a bit of trouble (after the first set) and not looking good at all, because he has a tendency to really run with it and play more freely on your serve. He plays very dangerous.

"It was just a matter of trying to play consistent but remain aggressive. Sometimes being also overly aggressive to see if it works.

"Then I started to serve very well, something I haven't been able to do really this week yet. I knew to have a chance (against Djokovic) I needed to serve well. So I'm just very happy I was able to deliver that."

Berdych moved into the final in Dubai for the second year in a row after edging out Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets.

The Czech, beaten by Djokovic in last year's showpiece encounter, did not have it all his own against Kohlschreiber, who served for the first set at 5-4.

But Berdych came battling back to win the next three games and then edged a tight second set to triumph 7-5 7-5.

"It was definitely not me (at the start of the match) and it was a really horrible start to the game," Berdych said.

"But I managed to refocus and stay there, stay calm, and wait for my chance, which I got in the end."

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