Sixth Dubai title for classy Federer

Roger Federer claims a 78th singles title with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Tomas Berdych in the Dubai Championships.

    Federer's victory secured the 78th tour-level title of the Swiss' career - and first for nine months [AFP]
    Federer's victory secured the 78th tour-level title of the Swiss' career - and first for nine months [AFP]

    Roger Federer roared back from a set and a break down to subdue Tomas Berdych 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the Dubai Championships final.

    Federer had recovered from a similar position to stun world number two Novak Djokovic in Friday's semi-final and the 32-year-old again struggled early on before he dug deep to claim a sixth Dubai crown.

    "It was a tough match," fourth seed Federer said in a courtside interview. "Tomas had the advantage and could have, should have, brought it home, but maybe I got a little lucky."

    Tomas had the advantage and could have, should have, brought it home, but maybe I got a little lucky.

    Roger Federer, Dubai Championships champion

    Federer nursed a back injury for much of last season and has slumped to eighth in the rankings, his lowest position since 2002, but ahead of Dubai he claimed his best tennis was still to come.

    With wins against top 10 opponents in successive days, the Swiss proved there may be some basis to his confidence.

    "I have a lot of tennis in my body over the years. I'm just happy I'm healthy again and that I can focus on tactics and not on 'Am I feeling alright when I wake up tomorrow?," said Federer, whose latest title puts him one clear of John McEnroe and third on the all-time list behind Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl.

    Federer broke for a 2-1 lead, but he then surrendered his serve immediately.

    Serving at 3-2 down, the Swiss again blundered, a scuffed backhand dribbling into the net to give Berdych a 4-2 lead.

    Berdych broke for a 3-2 second set lead to leave Federer facing a third straight defeat against the Czech.

    The Swiss immediately broke back and then held to love following a superbly disguised half-volley drop shot at the net that had the 5,000 capacity crowd roaring his name.

    Having built some momentum, Federer twice held to love and then levelled the match after another Berdych forehand error.

    Receiving serve at 1-0 up in the decider, Federer raced to a 40-0 lead but squandered three break points as Berdych, who was on an 11-match winning streak, refused to wilt.

    Federer was not to be denied, however, and a long Berdych forehand gave him a 3-1 lead.

    There was still time for more jitters, Federer failing to covert two match points against serve at 5-2 up but the Swiss sealed the title soon after as Berdych clubbed another forehand long.

    "He is the greatest player of all time - he will never give up and just give you anything for free," Berdych told reporters.

    "Of course I knew that. I was ready for it, but my execution was not good enough to hold it until the end."

    SOURCE: Reuters


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