Federer Beats Djokovic For Seventh Dubai Title
Swiss takes out World No. 1 Djokovic for the second time in a Dubai final
"The seventh is quite unbelievable, what I hear people talking about that, announcing I'm the six-time winner here in Dubai," said Federer. "Sounds pretty crazy. It's nice that Wimbledon and Halle are that way, as well."
The Swiss served four aces in the 37-minute opener and became the fourth player (since 1991) to hit 9000 aces when he fired down a service winner at the start of the sixth game of the second set. He hit 12 aces in total throughout the match, taking his tally to 9007.
The 33-year-old Swiss was contesting his ninth final in 12 visits to this ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tournament. He previously lifted the trophy in 2003-05, 2007, 2012 and 2014 and finished runner-up in 2006 and 2011. He now has a 47-5 tournament record.
Victory marked Federer’s second ATP World Tour title of the season. He opened his 2015 campaign by claiming the Brisbane title with his 1000th match win, beating Milos Raonic in the final. The Basel native now has an 84-42 finals record.
After saving two break points earlier in the contest, Federer broke Djokovic in the eighth game and went on to serve out the opener. Top seed Djokovic had his chances to push the match to a third set. He had Federer at 15/40 on serve in the eighth game and then again in the 10th game – eliciting two set points – but could not convert.
Federer then pounced in the 11th game, breaking Djokovic - who had led 40/0 - with a forehand winner to Djokovic, Federerlead 6-5. Federer faltered slightly serving for the match. He netted on his first match point and was forced to save a seventh break point for Djokovic before sealing victory at the second time of asking in 84 minutes.
"I think the first set belonged to me; whereas the second set belonged to him more," said Federer. "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. 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 saved were even bigger tonight."
Federer improved to a 20-17 lead over Djokovic in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series as he recorded his first victory over the Serb in a final since the 2012 Cincinnati title match.
"I think it's really become a very nice rivalry," said Federer. "I think we play very nicely against each other, and it seems people like the way we play against each other, as well. I don't think we have to adjust our games very much against each other, which I think is nice, as well. We can just play our game, and then the better man wins.
"It's been nice seeing Novak's improvements over all these years. He's become such an unbelievable player, especially the past five, six years, and cleaned up his game so nicely and became the best mover in the game. It's really a pleasure playing against him every single time again."
Djokovic, a four-time champion in Dubai, was looking to eclipse his coach Boris Becker and win his 50th tour-level title. The Belgrade native dropped to a 49-23 finals record. He was playing his first tournament since winning his eighth Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open (d. Murray) last month.