Federer Wraps Up 100th title In Second 'Home' Dubai
It just had to be Dubai.
Roger Federer has over the years made the city a regular training base during the ATP season, and has often called Dubai "home". On Saturday he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 to earn the 100th singles title of his career, as well as his eighth title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
“I think this one has a deep satisfaction, an immediate one, because I know what it means,” said Federer. “I like these type of numbers or records, to be quite honest. A lot of people always emphasise all the Slams and all these things. I play on the ATP Tour. This is where I've won so many of them. Been around for so long. Yeah, I don't rest between Slams all the time, like people think I might be. I think this number proves that. I think that's why this was a very exciting week for me."
Though Federer dismissed suggestions he's aiming for the record of 109 ATP titles held by Jimmy Connors, we've learned to never write him off.
The consolation for his opponent, who sensationally defeated Federer last month at the Australian Open and was contesting his second final in two weeks, is that when the new rankings are released on Monday he will be in the top 10 for the first time. He is the first Greek to be ranked in the top 10 since ATP rankings began in 1973.
With Belinda Bencic winning the WTA title in Dubai last week, it is the first time since Fabrice Santoro and Amelie Mauresmo won in 2002 that two players from the same country have won the title in the same year.
“I didn't come here expecting I was going to win, to be quite honest," Federer added. "I hadn't played since Australia. Just happy on all fronts how my game progressed, how well I played in the finals, on top of it winning the eighth, winning the 100th. So many magical things going on. Yeah, I'm very, very happy right now.”
Many of the points were short but there were also plenty of entertaining rallies and, although the match was competitive throughout, Federer was never threatened. He made an intimidating start by breaking serve in the opening game, and although he needed to fight off two break points at 5-4 he took the first set on his fourth set point. In the second set, games went comfortably with serve until Federer earned the vital break at 4-4 and served out the match to love.
“Yeah, definitely felt my best. I think I served very well. Had a high first-serve percentage in play, from the feeling anyway,” said Federer. “Yeah, I just think I played the right way. Things happened fast. Best-of-three set tennis on a fast court against somebody like Stefanos who also likes to take the ball early.
“I tried to be very aggressive myself and it worked out. I got off on a flyer in the beginning, never looked back. In the second set, I think I was overall maybe able to create a few more chances. I just felt good in defence, good in offence, good on the serve. That's a good combination to win.”
Tsitsipas admitted that he was outplayed by Federer.
“He was very aggressive, didn't give me any time today,” said Tsitsipas. “I mean, I was expecting it, for him to be a little more aggressive. He just seemed like having control over everything he was doing, taking the ball super early, on the rise, giving me no time to prepare. It was a very fast-tempo game. It felt like he was controlling everything on his own terms. He was just very, very aggressive. I probably didn't make the right decisions on my serve. That's why I lost with that score.”