ROGER Federer survived a fierce challenge from Fernando Verdasco to reach the quarter-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday, the tennis veteran  admits he found things “tricky” after getting past Fernando Verdasco in three sets.

After winning the first set 6-3, Federer looked set for a comfortable match in Dubai. But for the second match in a row, Federer was broken and couldn’t recover to drop the set 6-3.

However, with the deciding set heading towards a tie-break, Federer broke Verdasco to serve for the set.

And the 37-year-old made no mistake to beat Verdasco for the seventh consecutive time.

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When asked for his assessment of the match, Federer admitted he struggled to keep up with Verdasco in the second set.

“It was very tricky,” he said. “I think he got off to a slow start especially on his serve. That was the story of the first set.

“I think he starting playing much better in the second set. I might have had a few chances there but he was really able to raise his game.

“And for some reason, I couldn’t stay with him. “The third set is always going to be a close one when you can’t get a break in the first couple of games.

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“So I’m really happy the end was strong. The last few games were great.

“The crowd got really excited and that makes me very happy.”

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