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Page last updated at 19:10 GMT, Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Federer & Nadal through to Qatar Open quarter-finals

Roger Federer
Federer is a previous winner of the Qatar Open

Top seeds Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were both made to work hard to reach the quarter-finals of the Qatar Open in Doha.

Federer overcame strong resistance from fellow Swiss Marco Chiudinelli before sealing a 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 victory.

Far from his best, Federer edged a first-set tie-break before fighting back from a break down in the second.

Nadal, who has been suffering from a fever, needed three sets to beat Lukas Lacko of Slovakia 7-6 (7-3) 0-6 6-3.

Nadal, who is also playing doubles with Spanish compatriot Marc Lopez, fell ill earlier this week and looked uncharacteristically slow and sluggish on court. In the second set, the world number one won only five of 18 points on his serve - and 11 of 37 overall.

It was only the 10th time in 575 career matches that Nadal has lost a set 6-0, and the first since the decider of a final against Andy Murray at Rotterdam, Netherlands, in February 2009, when the Spaniard was bothered by a knee injury.

But Nadal picked up his game in the decider, breaking twice for a 3-0 lead following several unforced errors by Lacko. After dropping his serve once, Nadal broke again to clinch the match.

"It was really, really difficult," Nadal said. "Lukas played a great match and if he plays at this level it is going to be difficult for anyone to beat him.

"I wasn't 100% yesterday and it was the same today. I said that during the press conference yesterday. I was more tired after I played the doubles matches here. But I will not stop. I will play doubles."

Nadal will next play Latvian fifth seed Ernests Gulbis, who dropped only five points on serve in a comprehensive 6-3 6-1 win over qualifier Antonio Veic of Croatia.

Federer also had his troubles against a compatriot he has known since he was five-years-old, the two having grown up together.

"It was a tough situation because we know each other so well and it is really awkward playing against each other," Federer reflected. "I'm glad I came through the match."

Chiudinelli, who twice asked for help for a stiff back during the match, saved a set point in the 12th game to force the opening tie-break.

In the second set, Chiudinelli broke Federer in the fourth game but the world number two and twice Doha champion responded, breaking his opponent twice to earn the win and a meeting with Serbian Viktor Troicki on Thursday.

"He is a tough player," Federer added of his next opponent. "He just played the Davis Cup final and he did well."

Earlier Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continued his comeback from a knee injury by also reaching the quarter-finals.

Two successful Hawk-Eye decisions in a row at the end of the match helped the former world number six from France to a 6-2 6-4 win over Sergei Bubka, the son of Olympic pole vault legend Sergey.

"I think it [Hawk-Eye] is a good system - it brings justice," Tsonga smiled.

"Before we had it, it was a bit difficult when you had to believe what the umpire said."

And Russian Nikolay Davydenko also booked his place in the last eight with a straight sets 6-4 7-5 victory over Finland's Jarkko Nieminen.

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see also
Federer & Nadal through in Qatar
04 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Nadal beats Federer in Abu Dhabi
01 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Federer battles to London title
28 Nov 10 |  Tennis

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