Federer wins sixth Dubai Championships title

Roger Federer won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the sixth time on Saturday as he rallied from a set and a break down to defeat Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

"I was happy I was able to use momentum, win that second set, and then it was a tough opening period in the third, wasting the Love-40 game on Tomas' first service game," said Federer. "Then saving break points myself. Anything could have happened there.

"Things definitely went my way out here tonight, but I have had a lot tougher matches in the last one and a half years, so this is nice to get a lucky break again."

''He's the greatest player of all time and he'll never give up and give you anything for free,'' Berdych said. ''I knew that and thought I was ready for it, but my execution wasn't good enough to hold it to the end.''

Federer won his 78th tour-level title, taking him above John McEnroe to standalone third in the all-time title leaders list. The Swiss has won at least one ATP World Tour title every year since 2000, equaling Ivan Lendl’s record. Saturday’s victory saw him pass the $80m mark in career earnings.

Federer received 500 ATP Rankings points and $465,830 as he improved his Head to Head lead over Berdych to 12-6. Federer has a 42-5 event record in Dubai, previously lifting the trophy in 2003-05, 2007 and 2012. He improved to a 14-2 record through the first two months of the season, finishing runner-up in Brisbane (l. to Hewitt) and reaching the semi-finals at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal).

Federer now holds 4-1 match record against Top 10 players in this season.

It was a tense battle from beginning to end, with Federer having to rally from a set and break down to overcome Berdych. Berdych was on an 11-match winning streak, the best of his career, and he was chasing his second title of the season after recently winning in Rotterdam.

Breaks were exchanged in the opening stages of the match before Berdych broke decisively in the sixth game to ultimately take the opener. Federer found himself deeper in trouble when he was broken again at 2-2 in the second set, but he responded by once again breaking back immediately. Seizing the momentum, Federer then broke to love in the 10th game to level the match.

The Swiss went all out at the start of the third set, looking to capitalise on his change in fortunes. He had a 0/40 opportunity on Berdych’s serve in the second game, but the Czech reeled off five straight points to level. Federer then saved a break point of his own in the following game before finally getting his break in the fourth game as a Berdych forehand landed long.

Berdych was able to save two match points on his own serve in the eighth game. But the Czech couldn't stop Federer from serving out. Then Federer went on to claim the victory in just under two hours.

"It's like one of those things you just kind of hope it turns for the better," said Federer of being down in the second set. "At that point you're just telling yourself to serve well, give yourself maybe a few good opening points on Tomas' serve, and then you hope the points play out the way they need to be played out at that very moment, because it's basically in his hands. If he serves well, it's difficult, or the margins are extremely slim at that point.

"So once you do get back, it's important to not then relax and think, oh, the hardest part is done, it's only about the beginning actually. So I was happy I was able to use momentum, win that second set, and then it was a tough opening in the third, you know, wasting the Love- 40 game on Tomas' first service game. Then saving breakpoints myself. I mean, anything could have happened there.

"I was able to stay calm and once I got back on even terms I started to play better. I really enjoy playing against Tomas, who is a great player"

"I would say many things went wrong," lamented Berdych. "The match started pretty well. I had really many chances, and then I basically just gave him the game and that's it. It's very disappointing for me the way I handled that situation. I was in the better shape and playing really well and made my chances, but unfortunately I didn't execute it in the end."

"Roger Federer proved once again what a truly great champion he is, overcoming a very strong performance from a player who just last month reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open and then earlier this month won his ninth career title in Rotterdam," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.

"The final between Roger Federer and Tomas Berdych was a fitting end to what has been a wonderful festival of tennis that has thrilled not only the many thousands of fans who have flocked to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, but millions around the world who have watched some fantastic competition on television and other media," said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak.

Date: 1st March 2014, Source: ATP and Dubai


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