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Nadal and Federer stay on course for Qatar final showdown

Roger Federer plays a forehand return during his victory over Serbia's Viktor Troicki.
Roger Federer plays a forehand return during his victory over Serbia's Viktor Troicki.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer win quarterfinal matches at Qatar Open in Doha
  • Nadal beats Ernests Gulbis and Federer sees off Viktor Troicki in straight sets victories
  • Jo Wilfried Tsonga also reaches semifinals with hard-fought win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
  • Defending champion Nikolay Daydenko through as he beat Ivo Karlovic

(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer stayed on course for an eagerly-awaited final clash at the Qatar Open by easing through last eight matches on Thursday.

Top seed Nadal saw off the potentially awkward challenge of fifth seed Ernests Gulbis 7-6 6-3, while world number two Roger Federer was back to his best with a 6-2 6-2 win over Serbia's Viktor Troicki.

Again, Troicki, who scored the vital point as Serbia beat France in the Davis Cup final, was expected to offer stiff opposition, but Federer stepped up a gear.

The 29-year-old Swiss maestro broke four times from no less than 16 break point opportunites against Troicki and raced to victory in just 65 minutes.

Viktor was coming off a fantastic win with Serbia in the Davis Cup and that's why I had that extra focus
--Roger Federer
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"I feel great. I thought it was a great match for me," Federer told the official ATP Tour website.

"Viktor was obviously coming off a fantastic win with Serbia in the Davis Cup, so I knew it was going to be difficult and that's why I had that extra focus. I was able to play really well tonight and I'm very happy."

He will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the semifinals after the third seed beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain in two tiebreak sets.

Tsonga, who is returning after injury, saved two set points in the second set breaker before wrapping up victory in one hour 51 minutes.

"I served unbelievable on some good points and I did it with depth, so I'm happy to win today," he said.

Nadal, who dropped a love set to Lukas Lacko before winning his second round match, was winning for the fourth time against the talented Gulbis, taking control after claiming the first set tiebreak 7-3.

He will play Nikolay Davydenko in the semis after the defending champion beat Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 6-3 7-5 in the final quarterfinal.