Roger Federer continued his dominance of the Dubai Championships, winning the tournament for a record sixth time on Saturday in United Arab Emirates.
After taking down Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, Federer defeated Tomas Berdych in the final, dropping the first set before prevailing 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Roger was clearly pleased to pull out such a difficult victory:
“Things definitely went my way out here tonight,” Federer explained. “I’ve had a lot of tough matches in the last year and a half so it was nice to get a lucky break again.”
Federer actually lost to Berdych in the semifinals at Dubai last year, so there was an element of revenge in the win as well. Roger has now won 12 of the 18 meetings between the two players, but this one was far from easy.
After losing the first set, Federer found himself down a service break in the second set before winning 15 of the next 16 points to even things up at one set apiece. Roger then broke Berdych early in the third set to take control of the match and eventually held on for the win.
Federer acknowledged the importance of maintaining his serve in the final two sets. “Everything happens very, very quickly and I was looking for better serving because that’s what let me down the most in the beginning, getting broken three times in five, six service games,” said Federer.
The crowd in Dubai was firmly in the corner of Federer during the tournament, particularly in Roger’s final two matches. Federer has a home in Dubai, which could explain the preference.
Including the victory in Dubai, Roger has won 78 ATP Tour titles in his illustrious career. This total places Federer behind only Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94) for most titles in the Open era. In addition to this impressive statistic, this marks the 14th consecutive year Federer has won at least one title, which matches a record previously held by Lendl alone.
Federer has been playing well so far this year after some early tournament exits in 2013, and with this victory has already matched last year’s win total at one. Roger is clearly feeling better about his game of late:
“I’ve been playing really good tennis again for the last few months. I’m happy to be able to play great tennis again and hope to keep it up for a couple of weeks. It’s the mental belief that you’re gonna win instead of losing — I think that’s what I got back right now.”
A confident Roger Federer does not bode well for the rest of the ATP Tour. It will be interesting to see if Roger can build on this win going forward.