Nadal and Federer on course for final

    Roger Federer was made to battle by Andreas Seppi before reaching the semifinals of the Qatar Open.

    Story highlights

    • Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer remain on course to meet in Qatar Open final
    • Top seed Nadal defeats seventh seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 6-4 6-4
    • Federer has to battle back from dropping the second set to beat Andreas Seppi
    Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer remain on course for a showdown in the Qatar Open final this weekend after both players won their quarterfinal matches on Thursday.
    Top seed Nadal secured his place in the last four with a 6-4 6-4 success over seventh-seeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
    Meanwhile, second seed Federer had to dig deep to see off the challenge of eighth seed Andreas Seppi of Italy, eventually going through 6-3 5-7 6-4.
    Nadal was happy with his performance, telling reporters: "I think I played really well. At the end of the match I was a little bit nervous, but for the rest of the match I was happy with how I played.
    "I think I was moving fast and going to the net a lot of times -- and that is what I need to keep on doing if I want to compete against the top players."
    Defending champion Federer was securing his 20th consecutive victory and although the possibility of a 27th match against Nadal is on the horizon, the Swiss maestro knows he first faces a tough semifinal battle against third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga -- his conqueror at Wimbledon last year.
    "I am looking forward to playing him again. He's always a nice guy play and a nice guy off the court as well, so I hope we can live up to expectations," said Federer.
    Tsonga clinched his last four place with a thumping 6-2 6-1 win over Spain's Albert Ramos, while Gael Monfils will face Nadal after beating Viktor Troicki 6-2 6-3 to ensure the top four seeds all made it through.
    Meanwhile, second seed Gilles Simon and third seed Alexandr Dolgopolov will face each other in the semifinals of the Brisbane International after winning their quarterfinal matches.
    Frenchman Simon claimed a 7-6 6-4 victory over Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, while Ukrainian Dolgopolov recovered to defeat Radek Stepanek 4-6 6-3 6-3.