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Tennis: Slick Federer secures seventh Dubai crown, 84th ATP title

Roger Federer celebrates beating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for an ongoing-record seventh Dubai title. Photo: AFP.

Roger Federer celebrates beating World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for an ongoing-record seventh Dubai title. Photo: AFP.

March 1, 2015: An inspired Roger Federer beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-5 in 84 minutes to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the third time in four years and seventh overall. Between them, Federer and Djokovic have won the last seven Dubai titles.

 

Federer, 33, beat Tomas Berdych to win the trophy last year and retained his crown on Saturday night by handing Djokovic his first loss in a Dubai final after the Serb won the trophy in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. The Swiss now leads 20-17 in their head-to-head series after his first victory over Djokovic in a final since Cincinnati in 2012.

 

The World No. 2 was a popular champion in Dubai where he was appearing in his ninth final in 12 visits to the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament, previously lifting the trophy in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2012 and 2014, while finishing runner-up in 2006 and 2011.

 

“The seventh is quite unbelievable, when I hear people talking about that. Sounds pretty crazy. It’s nice that Wimbledon and Halle are that way, as well,” said the 17-time Grand Slam singles champion after winning his 84th ATP World Tour title.

 

Federer had to save two break points early on in the first set before breaking Djokovic in the eighth game and then serving out the opener.

 

Djokovic, 27, had his chances to win the second set. The top seed had Federer at 15/40 on serve in both the eighth game and also the 10th game – when he held two set points – but could not convert any of his opportunities.

 

Federer then pounced in the 11th game, breaking Djokovic from 40/0 down to lead 6-5. The Swiss faltered slightly serving for the match, netting on his first match point, and was forced to save a seventh break point before sealing victory at the second time of asking.

 

“I think the first set belonged to me, whereas the second set belonged to him more as he created many more opportunities. I struggled to get into his service games more frequently. It seemed like the moment I wasn’t serving great, he created chances for himself and put a lot of pressure on me,” said Federer, who won his first title of the season in Brisbane in January.

 

“It was a huge game clearly at 5-5, 40/0 for him. I crawled my way back into the game and ended up breaking him, so that was big, but I think the break points I saved were even bigger tonight.”

 

Federer served four of his 12 aces aces in the 37-minute first set and became the fourth player since 1991 to hit 9,000 aces when he fired down a service winner at the start of the sixth game of the second set.

 

Djokovic, an eight-time Grand Slam singles champion, was looking to win his 50th ATP title and eclipse his coach Boris Becker, but admitted he failed to take his chances.

 

“I thought it was a good match and that there wasn’t much difference. He was a better player in the first set and deserved to win it. In the second set, I had a couple games at 15/40 and set points. If you don’t use these opportunities against Roger, then he fires back and then at 5-5, 40/0, I lost that one,” Djokovic said.

 

“But I didn’t play too bad. I thought he just was too good in the points, break points, where maybe I had a chance. He served well. He aced. I thought he played a terrific game.

 

“I thought it was a good week overall. I played some terrific tennis. I actually do feel good about how I played and how I feel physically, and I’m motivated, so I just hope I can continue to maintain that level of high performance throughout the season.”

 

Daniel Nestor of Canada and Rohan Bopanna of India won the doubles title.

Daniel Nestor of Canada and Rohan Bopanna of India won the doubles title in Dubai.

Fourth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Daniel Nestor of captured their second ATP World Tour doubles title of the season by beating Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Nenad Zimonjic 6-4, 6-1.

 

India’s Bopanna, 34, captured his 12th title from 30 finals, while the 42-year-old Nestor of Canada won his 87th tour-level title. The new duo lifted their first trophy together last month in Sydney and have a 10-3 team record this season.

 

“I think we played a really solid match,” Bopanna said. I think we stuck to our strengths playing aggressive tennis and a high percentage of first serves, which I think was the key. We put a lot of pressure on them.”

 

Nestor added: “We have had a good start. We have beaten a lot of good teams, which is good. Obviously our goal is to win the Grand Slams. The next few weeks are big tournaments. We have to really be ready. But if we play like we are playing and stay positive and keep working hard, we should be all right.”

 

Source: ATP World Tour (www.atpworldtour.com); Editing by SportAsia

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