Federer warms up with Qatar title

Swiss world number two reasserts credentials ahead of Australian Open defence by beating Davydenko in ATP final in Doha.

    Federer went through the Qatar Open without dropping a set as main rival Nadal exited in the semis [Reuters]

    Roger Federer set out his determination to hang on to his Australian Open title when he brushed aside defending champion Nikolay Davydenko to regain the Qatar Open crown.

    The 16-times Grand Slam champion proved too much for his Russian opponent, claiming a break of serve in each set to complete victory under the floodlights at the Khalifa Tennis Complex in Doha.

    Federer overwhelmed the defending champion, who had put out top seed Rafael Nadal in Friday's semi-finals, 6-3, 6-4, sealing victory in 79 minutes when Davydenko netted an attempted backhand pass to huge cheers from a capacity crowd.

    It was a 67th career title for the 29-year-old, who has not dropped a set this week in the tiny Gulf state and celebrated victory with a brief smile at his first win of the season.

    "It feels fantastic," said Federer, who was beaten by Davydenko at last year's tournament.

    "I have had a good week. I really appreciate the support I get here. I have had good preparation. I can't believe that I am on the board already this year."

    When Davydenko beat Federer here last year, he had not long come from the biggest triumph of his career – winning the ATP Championships year-end title in London, and he was still on an emotional high.

    This time he is re-starting from a season in which he has battled a persistent wrist injury, and slipped out of the world's top 20 for the first time in more than five years from a career-best third.

    The Russian battled hard throughout, saving six break points in the first set and charging down every ball but was always under pressure on his own serve.

    The second set was on serve until the ninth game when Federer broke Davydenko to love before serving out with ease to claim his third Qatar Open title.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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