Roger Federer is among a host of other 30 somethings who are challenging father time. He beat 35 year old Radek Stepanek in this tourney and Tommy Haas is #12 in the world rankings at age 35. Not to mention, fellow countryman Stanislas Wawrinka (soon to join at 29) won the Australian Open two months ago.
Having fallen out of the top five for the first time in over a decade, Federer came back twice in the Semis and Finals to win the Dubai Championships over Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. On Friday, Federer came back against arch-rival Novak Djokovic in three sets.
In the Finals, Federer would face Berdych who broke service twice in the first set to win 6-3
At 2-2 in second set, Berdych capitalized on his third break point when Federer hit a forehand wide. Federer would promptly break at 15 to even the second set at 3-3.
The two men held serve easily in the next two games but Federer would break Berdych easily in the tenth game to win the second set 6-4.
Berdych fought back from 0-40 in the second game by winning five straight points and the two were tied 1-1. At 30-40 in the third game, Berdych sailed a forehand long and when Federer consolidated the break with a hold at 15, he lead 4-1.
Federer saved two break points in the seventh game before holding for 5-2. The last game saw Federer serve an ace and force two errors off the serve for an easy hold and the title.
Federer has been working with Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg since last Fall and it appears that his newly found aggression on return of serve and timely forays to the net are showing results. He finished the final match with 12 successes on 16 net attempts – but it was the timing ranging from serve and volleys to close out volleys of long rallies or short balls which showed an improvement which may pay off in his sunset years on the tour.
It was Federer’s 78th ATP title, breaking the tie with McEnroe for 3rd on the all-time list. He earned $465,830.00 and 500 points for the championship but will remain at #8 in the World Rankings. It was his sixth Dubai Tennis Championships title.