Tomas Berdych saved three match points before beating defending champion Roger Federer 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4 Friday to set up a Dubai Championships final against Novak Djokovic.
In a back-and-forth tiebreaker, Berdych led 4-2 before needing to save two match points — the second with a powerful serve. The Czech player then wasted a set point before Federer failed to convert his third match point. Berdych finally clinched the set with a blistering return.
The second-ranked Federer has still not reached a final in 2013.
Berdych has beaten him five of their last eight meetings, including at Wimbledon in 2010 and last year at the U.S. Open.
Earlier, Djokovic stormed past fourth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 7-6 (4).
The top-ranked Serb, bidding for his fourth Dubai title in five years, made the only break of the first set and came from 3-0 down in the second.
Serving at 3-1, 30-40, the Argentine was given a time violation. A furious del Potro then hit a forehand wide to make it 3-2. Djokovic broke again to make it 4-3 only for del Potro to even the set at 5-all.
Djokovic then forced the tiebreaker.