Federer trounces Berdych to clinch sixth title in Dubai

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Federer trounces Berdych to clinch sixth title in Dubai Alex Leach / 2 March 2014 Roger Federer came back from a set and a break down against Tomas Berdych to clinch his sixth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship title here on Saturday night. Federer broke in the third game of the first set as Berdych netted a forehand, but he lost his own service game immediately thereafter with similarly sloppy play off the same wing. The Swiss was broken again when a poor second serve sat up nicely for his 28-year-old opponent, whose forceful return could only be directed back into the net by Federer. Berdych thus had the initial impetus and he kept that momentum for the remainder of the opener, winning it with a characteristically strong serve to Federer’s backhand that meekly found the net. The Rotterdam Open winner then looked to be honing in on his second tournament win in succession as another wayward Federer forehand coughed up another break of service. However, just as Federer’s challenge looked to be cruelly falling short at the final hurdle, he retaliated with two breaks to force a crunch third-set decider; Berdych’s backhand and forehand misfiring at the crucial moments respectively. Another long Berdych forehand in the fourth game there handed the perennial winner and all-time record holder here a two-game cushion and he didn’t look back from that point on. Berdych’s failure to capitalise on some crucial break point opportunities in the seventh game perhaps adversely affected his service game in the subsequent eighth as Federer scented victory. He still staved off two championship points to make Federer serve for the half dozen, which he did with typical aplomb to close it out 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 58 minutes. “I’m really happy with my game tonight and for the week,” the 17-time Grand Slam champion said. “It has been tough match clearly and Tomas had the advantage. He could — and maybe should — have brought it home.  “I guess I got a little lucky at times out here tonight, but I fought well and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome at the end of course. I stayed calm and then, once I was I got back on even terms, I really started to play better. “I really enjoy playing against Tomas. He’s a great player and he’s had a great streak as well, what with winning in Rotterdam and reaching the semis of the Australian Open, so I wish Tomas all the best for the coming weeks as well.” This win in the emirate was the 78th on the ATP Tour for Federer, who moved above John McEnroe in the all-time list to outright third behind Ivan Lendl (second, 94) and Jimmy Connors (first, 109). It also places Dubai among the Swiss’ happiest hunting grounds alongside the Barclays ATP Tour Finals (six), Halle (six) and — of course — Wimbledon (seven). Federer collects $465,830 and 500 Emirates Airline ATP Ranking points as a consequence, whereas Berdych pockets $210,020 and 300 Emirates Airline ATP Ranking points for his runner-up finish. alex@khaleejtimes.com For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →

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