Roger Federer has claimed a historic landmark in his career after he won his 100th title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Swiss and 20-time Grand Slam champion is only the second man in the Open era to reach the three-figure mark in accolades after American Jimmy Connors, who won 109 titles.
Federer also avenged his shock defeat by 20-year-old Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January.
“I’m delighted. It’s great to win my eighth here in Dubai and in combination with my 100th singles title,” Federer said.
“Tough conditions and tough opponents. To win in Marseille and then come here was difficult for Stefanos.”
‘A long, wonderful journey’
Federer, who had been stuck on 99 titles since triumphing at his hometown Basel tournament in October, broke Tsitsipas in the first game of the match and saved two break points at 5-4 to claim the first set in 36 minutes.
Tsitsipas, who will break into the top 10 for the first time on Monday, held firm up to 4-4 in the second set before Federer switched gears to seal the decisive break and close out the victory.
“It’s been a long, wonderful journey,” Federer said.
“It’s a privilege (to play against potential champions) because I’ll be watching them on TV. It was a treat to play Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. I’m sure Stefanos will have a wonderful career.
“Tennis is in good hands regardless if I’m there or not.”
Tsitsipas won his only previous meeting with Federer, completing a four-set victory over the Swiss player in a round of 16 match at this year’s Australian Open.
On Friday in the semi-finals of the championships, Federer claimed two breaks of Croatian Borna Coric’s serve in either set on the way to a 6-2, 6-2 win that took just over an hour.
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) March 2, 2019
When asked by the presenter during the awards ceremony whether he’s ready to win 10 more titles to break Connors’ record, Federer replied that is not necessarily on his mind.
“We’re living in a day and age today where all the records have to be shattered – not for me. I’m just happy I’m still healthy. I’m happy I have such a wonderful team,” Federer said.
“If I reach milestones like this along the way, that’s wonderful but I’m really not here to shatter all the records that are out there. What Jimmy [Connors] did was an unbelievable achievement. He should be proud of that.
“I’m proud of other things that I’ve done. This tonight was a very special evening, playing Stefanos and seeing the future coming up in the tennis game. It’s part of this whole journey.”