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Federer makes history in Dubai, wins 100th title

Roger Federer made history at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, defeating reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to win his 100th tour-level title.

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Federer in fine form as Switzerland win Hopman Cup

Roger Federer became the most successful player in Hopman Cup history when he led Switzerland to a 2-1 win in an enthralling final of the mixed teams tournament in Perth.

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Federer beats Raonic for Stuttgart title, his 18th on grass

Roger Federer claimed his 98th tour-level title and 18th grass-court trophy, displayed his unrivalled superiority on grass with a 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory over Milos Raonic in the Mercedes Cup final in Stuttgart.

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Federer cruises past Dimitrov to claim Rotterdam title

Roger Federer celebrated his return to the top of the world rankings with his second title of the season, swatting aside Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the ABN AMRO World Tournament in Rotterdam.

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Federer becomes oldest ATP World No.1

Roger Federer guaranteed his return to No.1 in the ATP Rankings after beating Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Federer to face Coric in Dubai semis

Roger Federer faced two set points in an opening-set tie-break on Thursday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. But the seven-time Dubai champion stayed calm and eliminated Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (6), 6-4 in one hour and 56 minutes, continuing his pursuit of a historic 100th tour-level title.

"I'm very happy to have found a way to the semis," Federer said. "It was a good level of play considering all the difficulties that were on the court today."

Federer remains undefeated in Dubai quarter-finals, advancing to the last four at the ATP 500 tennis tournament, where he holds a 51-6 record, for the 11th time. He will face sixth seed Borna Coric for a spot in his 10th final at the event.

The 37-year-old Swiss is now just two victories away from earning his eighth Dubai crown and becoming the second player in the Open Era to win 100 tour-level trophies. The only other player to accomplish the feat is Jimmy Connors, who captured 109 titles.

Reaching the semi-finals was not easy, though. Fucsovics did well to maintain his court-positioning for much of the match, using his forehand down the line to keep the Swiss on the back foot and to try to dictate play as much as he could. Federer was never able to consistently dominate rallies, making for a tense affair with entertaining points.

After Federer stormed to a 3/0 lead in the tie-break. Fucsovics won five consecutive points, and then earned two set points at 6/4. But the Hungarian showed some nerves, hitting a couple of forehands into the net to allow Federer to take the lead.

But despite Federer breaking early in the second set, Fucsovics battled hard and regained his rhythm on the forehand wing to break back. At 4-4, Fucsovics fended off three break points when a slight rain began to fall, forcing a break in play that lasted less than 10 minutes (the second short rain delay of the match). While Federer could not convert another opportunity he earned after play resumed, Fucsovics could not fend off a fifth chance, missing a forehand down the line wide to give the Swiss a crucial second break in the set.

Federer won just two more points than Fucsovics, but he was able to advance in straight sets for the first time this week. Federer won 38 per cent of return points against the World No. 35.

"It's tricky to come back and just hit winners after rain delays. Sometimes it's a disadvantage. Sometimes it was an advantage. We made the most of it," Federer said. "The tie-break was tough. I'm happy I found a way to get out of that one. That was an exciting match, to say the least."

Federer now leads Fucsovics 2-0 in their ATP Head to Head series after also defeating the Hungarian in straight sets at last year’s Australian Open.

Federer's next opponent, Coric, beat two-time ATP Tour champion Nikoloz Basilashvili 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1) in two hours and 28 minutes. Coric defeated Federer twice last year, to win the Halle title and reach the Shanghai final.

"He's really found his game. I remember when he came up, I played him here actually in 2015. Then he also beat Murray here, beat Rafa in Basel," Federer said. "Then he struggled for a while, then found his game again. We've had a couple tough matches as of late. He beat me on two of those occasions. I think we're 2-2 in the past four. I'm happy for Borna to have really understood his game. That's really important at the top level if you want to win the big tournaments, which he has now."

If Federer triumphs in Dubai, it will be the fourth tournament at which he has captured eight titles. He has lifted nine trophies in both Basel and Halle, while emerging victorious at Wimbledon eight times.

Date: 28 February 2019, Source: ATP

Federer overcomes Verdasco in Dubai

Seven-time former champion Roger Federer recorded his 50th match win at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Wednesday night with a hard-fought 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Fernando Verdasco, the 2017 finalist, in one hour and 35 minutes.

“I'm happy I actually stayed calm throughout the game," said Federer. "I felt like I was having a good feeling out there. Even though I wasn't playing my best, I still felt like it was going to fall my way when it really mattered. I think that confidence is kind of important in sports or in tennis. I'm happy I had it today. I played good at the end. I had the serve when I needed it, had some good shots, a good point on break point when I needed it. That was nice to win it that way.”

Federer, who was informed on court that it was his 50th victory, in Dubai admitted, “I was like, ‘Phew, 50, a lot of tennis here in Dubai. I'm very happy. It's a big number. I'm not sure if I'm going to get to 100. Let's put it that way.”

By moving to within three victories of capturing the 100th trophy of his career, Federer will next challenge Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics, who was a 6-4, 6-2 victor over Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany earlier in the day. Federer beat Fucsovics in their only ATP Head to Head series meeting at the 2018 Australian Open.

“I know Marton quite well actually,” said Federer. “He came to Zurich to train with me. He was nice enough to come there. I don't remember how long we spent, but a few days practising together there. We had a great time. Then, I played him at the Australian Open last year. [It was a] good match… He's improved. He likes the fast surfaces. He likes to play up in the court. He has the power when required. I think it's going to be definitely a match that's going to test me tomorrow.”

In their first meeting for four years (2015 Dubai), Federer mixed up his service placement and tactics to keep Verdasco on the back foot. Verdasco double faulted to gift Federer a 3-1 advantage and was tentative on serve at 2-5, when the Spaniard recovered from 0/30. Federer, who lost five of his service points in the 28-minute opener, closed out when Verdasco hit a backhand return into the net.

In a dramatic reversal, centred largely on Federer moving away from serving to Verdasco’s slice backhand, the momentum of the match shifted. Verdasco saved a break point in the first game of the second set and soon found himself with a 3-0 lead. Federer continued to serve and volley off his first delivery, but Verdasco held his nerve to win his first set against the second seed since November 2009 at the ATP Finals (Federer won 4-6, 7-5, 6-1).

Federer looked to stamp his authority on the third set, early on, but Verdasco’s serve had great fluency and his movement on the baseline had improved. Federer saved one break point at 1-1, 30/40, and then held to love in his next two service games. A net cord winner for Federer at 4-3, with Verdasco serving at 30/30 set up a break point, which resulted in a 26-stroke rally. He is now 50-6 overall in Dubai.

“These best-of-three set matches, you're not always in control of everything because, like you saw at the end, a good five minutes from your opponent or a good five minutes from you can decide the outcome of the match,” said Federer. “You're definitely living on the edge at some point in the match. This is how it is.”

The 37-year-old Federer is attempting to become the second man in the Open Era to capture 100 singles title (after Jimmy Connors, 109). The Swiss superstar, the champion at the Aviation Club in 2003-05, 2007, 2012, 2014-2015, improves to a 5-1 record in 2019.

Date: 27 February 2019, Source: ATP

Federer fends off Kohlschreiber, begins chase for 100th title

Roger Federer began his chase for tour-level title No. 100 on Monday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, defeating German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. The Swiss now leads Kohlschreiber 14-0 in their ATP Head to Head series.

But the 37-year-old’s first match since his loss in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Stefanos Tsitsipas was not easy. While Federer looked in control early, breaking in the first game of the match and using that advantage to storm through the first set in 30 minutes, he was forced into a third set against Kohlschreiber for just the third time at an ATP Tour event. Ultimately, Federer forced an error with a strong cross-court forehand to break in his first return game of the decider and he held on to emerge victorious after one hour and 36 minutes.

"My mindset was to just somehow get through. Somehow try not to lose," Federer said. "I'm very pleased I was able to find a way. I actually played a really good third set, I thought."

Federer has only lost his opening match at a tournament once in the past 20 months, with that defeat coming in Miami last year against Thanasi Kokkinakis. Seven-time Dubai champion Federer now holds a 49-6 record at the ATP 500 event.

Early on, Federer dominated play with his first serve. He put Kohlschreiber on the back foot straight away, and only lost one first-serve point in the first set. But Kohlschreiber broke in his first return game of the second set, and began to put more pressure on the Swiss by placing his first-serve returns deeper in the court. That helped Kohlschreiber push Federer back, giving the German more chances to dictate play and force the 99-time tour-level champion to defend.

But the Swiss counter-punched well at the start of the third set to break Kohlschreiber and hold for 3-0, and Federer never looked back. While Kohlschreiber saved one break point at 1-4 with a beautifully angled backhand off of a drop volley, he could not avoid going down a double-break.

Federer hit a backhand passing shot straight at Kohlschreiber on his next opportunity, forcing an error before holding to love to clinch his victory. The 6'1" right-hander is trying to become just the second player in the Open Era to lift 100 tour-level trophies (after Jimmy Connors, 109).

The second seed will next face Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, who battled back to defeat qualifier Thomas Fabbiano 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Like with Kohlschreiber, Federer holds a lopsided ATP Head to Head series lead against Verdasco having triumphed in all six of their previous matches. The Swiss has won 13 of the 14 sets he has played against the 35-year-old left-hander, including a straight-sets victory in their most recent meeting, also in Dubai, four years ago.

"I think he's got one of those wonderful forehands on the ATP Tour. We've seen the great shot-making he has been able to produce over the course of his career," Federer said. "I'm happy that he's still going. I think he's a good player. He can definitely peak against the top guys. I think that's why he's still playing, for those kinds of matches, so I have to be careful."

Date: 25 February 2019, Source: ATP

Federer to play on clay at Madrid Open

Roger Federer confirmed his participation for this year's Madrid Open on Wednesday, marking his return to the European clay court season after two years away.

Federer, whose sole French Open title came in 2009, has preferred to skip the European clay season over the last two seasons to manage his schedule.

He is the second most successful player of all time at the Madrid Open (three titles), picked up his first trophy (2006) when the tournament was played on indoor hardcourt in October, his second (2009) in the first year in the Caja Mágica and his third three seasons later (2012).

“Federer is one of the best players of all time, it’s no secret”, said Feliciano López, the Director of the Mutua Madrid Open. “We are happy because his return to Madrid is a gift to the tournament, but above all the fans will be able to see a unique player in the Caja Mágica. Having the Swiss player back on clay with Djokovic and Nadal is going to be unmissable”.

“Roger’s presence in the Caja Mágica will make this year’s Mutua Madrid Open special”, said Manolo Santana, Honorary President of the tournament. “It doesn’t matter that he’s 37 because he still has that unmistakable class; the innate talent that has made him one of the best of all time. Being able to enjoy his tennis is something that no fan of the sport should miss”.

Federer is also set to play at the French Open for the first time since 2015.

Date: 20 February 2019, Source: Reuters and Madrid Open