Roger Federer won a record sixth Dubai Championships and 78th career title by beating Tomas Berdych 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final on Saturday.
Federer, who maintains a home in Dubai, delighted a packed stadium of fans who seemed biased for the Swiss in back-to-back wins over Novak Djokovic in the semifinals and Berdych.
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Federer’s win, his sixth here in the last 12 years, extends his record of winning at least one title a year to 14 consecutive years.
This is Federer’s first tournament victory since winning in Halle, his only title of 2013, last spring.
Federer improved his record over Berdych to 12-6 with the win. The last time they played, however, Berdych beat Federer in the Dubai semifinals last year.
The loss ended Berdych’s longest winning streak of his career at 11 matches. In the first set, Federer’s forehand looked shaky and he appeared a step slow. After exchanging early service breaks, the third-seeded Berdych snared the go-ahead break in the sixth game. On a second break point at 30-40, Federer netted a backhand to lose serve.
In the second set, there was another early exchange of breaks. From 4-4, Federer won the final eight points of the set to even the set score.
Both players had break opportunities in the first two games of the third set- Berdych three and Federer one but both held. Federer secured his victory when he broke Berdych on a second break point in the fourth game.
Federer faced two break points on his serve in the seventh game but held on to the game for 5-2.
Berdych was able to save two match points on his own serve in the eighth game. But the Czech couldn’t stop Federer from serving out. On Federer’s third match point at 40-15 in the ninth game, Berdych netted a backhand return.