Novak Djokovic flexed his muscles with some heavy groundstrokes, while former No. 1 Roger Federer seemed unable to reach for a higher gear when he needed it as the Serb defeated the Swiss 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday to capture his third consecutive title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Since losing to Federer in November at the ATP World Tour Finals, Djokovic has run off with a 14-0 record, leading Serbia to the Davis Cup title, winning the Australian Open (where he beat Federer) and now Dubai.
“It’s really important to know for me that I can perform this well,” said Djokovic. “This match has probably been one of the best that I played this year…I feel physically well, fit, mentally motivated to do even more coming up to Indian Wells and Miami where I haven’t done well in the last years.”
Djokovic broke Federer in the third game of the first set, and came down from a break in the second set. Djokovic consistently pounded the Federer backhand, which is not aging gracefully with the 29-year-old Swiss, much like Pete Sampras’ one-handed backhand declined in his final years. Late in the second set the Federer backhand also let him down, producing some critical unforced errors.
“Obviously disappointing end as well to the match,” Federer said. “I guess you can’t win them all. I played so well in Doha in the finals, in London in the finals, in Basel in the finals. I guess I had to mess one up. It’s a pity, but, look, Novak played great…I thought he was already playing well at the end of last year. We had a couple of real close ones. This one has been one of the rather disappointing matches for me against him. I can’t play great every time either. So it’s been a tough one, but I’m not too disappointed. It’s another final for me. I tried tonight. Just didn’t really happen for me.”
Zvonareva Upsets World No. 1 Wozniacki in WTA Doha Final
World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki was stopped from winning her second title in two weeks on Saturday when she was defeated in the final of the Qatar Ladies Open 6-4, 6-4 by No. 2-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva.
Wozniacki was a title winner last week in Dubai, and drops to 13-9 in career singles finals.
“I’m always disappointed to lose but I played a great competitor today,” Wozniacki said. “Vera played a great match and a great tournament. I’m happy to be in the finals; it was another great tournament for me and I always enjoy being back in Doha.”
It was the first title in over a year for Zvonareva, who improved to 11-16 in career finals.
“I was just fighting for every point and trying to go for my shots,” Zvonareva said. “This is definitely a special moment for me, especially after that tough match against Daniela [Hantuchova] and another great one against Jelena [Jankovic]. I have so many fans here it’s unbelievable.”
It was the sixth meeting in the last 12 months for the two, with Zvonareva evening their career series at 4-4.
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