Roger Federer Denies Novak Djokovic, Wins 7th Dubai Title
by Staff | February 28th, 2015, 2:38 pm
  • 66 Comments

Defending champion Roger Federer won his seventh Dubai Open Saturday with an impressive 6-3, 7-5 win over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. The win was Federer’s second of the season and 84th of his career. It’s also the third time after 2003 and 2012 that Federer has won Dubai without losing a set.

“The seventh is quite unbelievable, what I hear people talking about that, announcing I’m the six-time winner here in Dubai,” said Federer after his 10th straight win in Dubai. “Sounds pretty crazy. It’s nice that Wimbledon and Halle are that way, as well.”

In a crisp, well played first set, Federer broke Djokovic in the eighth game and never was under any real threat. He then fired his 9,000th career ace to start the sixth game of the second set.

Djokovic, though, continued to gather momentum, but the Serb just couldn’t capitalize on a string of break chances late in the match, finishing a disappointing 0/7 in that category at the end.

Federer served 12 aces and won 80% of his first serve points. The serve got him out of trouble time and time again pacing his first Top 5 win of the season and his first over a World No. 1 in a final since the 2010 ATP Finals victory over Rafael Nadal.

“I think the first set belonged to me,” Federer said. “Whereas the second set belonged to him more. He created many more opportunities. I struggled to get into his service games more frequently. It seemed like the moment I wasn’t serving great he created chances for himself and put a lot of pressure on me. It was a huge game clearly at 5-5, 40/0 for him.

“I crawled my way back into the game and ended up breaking him. So that was big, but I think the break points saved were even bigger tonight.”

Said Djokovic, “I thought it was a good match. I thought there wasn’t much difference, a few points decided a winner. He was a better player in the first set. He deserved to win it. In the second set, I had a couple games at 15/40, set points. If you don’t use these opportunities against Roger, then he fires back, and then 5-5, 40/0, I lost that one. But I didn’t play too bad. I thought he just was too good in the points where maybe I had a chance, break points. He served well. He aced. I thought he played a terrific game.”

Djokovic, who had never lost in the Dubai final (4-0), was also trying to win his 50th career title. He has now lost four straight sets to Federer and drops to 20-17 against the Swiss.

“It’s been nice seeing Novak’s improvements over all these years. He’s become such an unbelievable player, especially the past five, six years, and cleaned up his game so nicely and became the best mover in the game. It’s really a pleasure playing against him every single time again.”

Djokovic, who will actually add points after improving from a semifinal last year to a final now, was pleased with his week despite the straight set loss today.

“I thought it was a good week overall,” Djokovic said. “I played some terrific tennis. I’m happy with the result here and moving into now Davis Cup and, of course, the hard court season at Indian Wells, Miami, which is going to be tough obviously. But I look forward to it. I actually do feel good about how I played and how I feel physically, and I’m motivated. So I just hope I can continue to maintain that level of high performance throughout the season.”

The two have won the Dubai title 11 of the last 13 years.

Djokovic will head back to Serbia where his Davis Cup team will welcome Croatia next weekend. Federer, who has opted out of Davis Cup for now, will have a week off before an exo against Grigor Dimitrov a week from Monday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.


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66 Comments for Roger Federer Denies Novak Djokovic, Wins 7th Dubai Title

andrea Says:

ah…roger. sublime.


chris ford1 Says:

Better player today won. Roger tried repeating his Shanghai Blitz game plan again on Novak. It worked, he executed it well. Congrats to Fed!
Novak and Boris are going to have to sit down and work up how to fight this tactic better, or other players will emulate Fed and have success.
I would start with saying that Nole may be trying to do too much with the huge servers like Isner, Karlovic, Fed, and Raonic. He has lost to all of them when they were serving well. Instead of anticipating the exact place it will go and trying for a deep return in the corner of the box opposite the serve side…and missing or getting jammed or mistiming it – Djokovic might want to
swallow some pride when he is getting thumped and just block it back like most players do.

Well, I did say congrats to Fed…but now Djoker is off on another big adventure squaring off with Team Coatia in Davis Cup. Cilic is trying to start his comeback there in Serbia, Viktor Troicki is back, and Dubai’s new boy crush, Borna Coric, will start…


TennisVagabond.com Says:

I missed the match due to travel but I’m thrilled to see the result. Sorry to miss it though, as personally, I find the Rog/Novak matches to be the best in tennis the last 6 years or so.
Just amazing, at 33 he can still take out the DOMINANT #1 once in a while. What a fighter Federer is.

Excited to see what he can do at Indian Wells.
For now, good luck to Rafa tomorrow, and I really hope we see a supercharged Cilic in his mini-comeback.


Humble Rafa Says:

Djokovic will head back to Serbia where his Davis Cup team will welcome Croatia next weekend. Federer, who has opted out of Davis Cup for now, will have a week off before an exo against Grigor Dimitrov a week from Monday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.


Dump your country but never forget to collect that exo check.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

What an uncharacteristically un-humble comment! Is there a Bitter and Vindictive Rafa posting now?

stay in character HR, or the whole gig is up


skeezer Says:

TV,
Being sayin the same for awhile now. Most here ignore the idiot nowdays. Tennis X seemingly let the “it” post, but have never understood the contribution here. Humour? Nah, a comedic wannabee who has used up its funniness and cowardly hides behind it.

Think Nole summed things up well, it was close and this time it went Feds way. They have played each other so much, at this point it can really go one way or another IF they are both in form. Props to Fed with recognising and appreciating Noles improvement over the years. After all, the guy is still currently #1 in the world. This has always been an entertaining matchup for the purest Tennis fans…


Okiegal Says:

I believe Nole will have the #1 ranking for a long time……he is way ahead. He got beat by Fed because he played better than Novak. As amazing as Novak is, he showed a human side that pressure can play havoc with your nerves. He was unsettled today b/c of Fed’s amazing play. Heck, Novak might win the next one. When these two meet it’s a toss up.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

It seemed like the moment I wasn’t serving great he created chances for himself and put a lot of pressure on me

Roger summed up well. Pretty much the same comment I made y’day during the match in the 2nd set. It was all on his serve specifically in the later part of 2nd set. He lost his rhythm on the baseline rallies and was under severe pressure from Novak.


danica Says:

Just saw the second set. Nole had chances but Roger served too good. Kudos to him, deservedly won. It is amazing how good he is at that age. I can only hope Nole can maintain a good level of play when he is 33.

Congrats to Rog and his fans. I knew it was too far fetched saying Nole was the favorite.

I am satisfied. Nole added points on each of the three tournaments he played this year and has the opportunity for more in DC tie. I don’t expect he will again win IW/Miami but then again, there is Madrid he missed last year.


skeezer Says:

NK,
No, you said Fed was “just surviving” on his serve, no?
“Roger, just surviving on his serve. this can’t go for 3rd set like this. either Roger gets it done in 2 sets or it’s Novak in 3rd se”
If you thought that match was all about Fed “just surviving” on his serve, you need to take a basic tennus lesson.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

skeezer, you are talking like an idiot. I mentioned not about the match, but about the moment in the second set. it was more about Roger’s serve in the later part of the second set.

I mentioned clearly, from the moment he hit 2 BH winners, he seems to have lost his rhythm or Novak went a notch up. After that it was Novak dictating terms and Roger handing with his serve. Better watch the match again. Don’t make noise following only the scoreboard.


sienna Says:

I have to agree with Skeezer for once. Incredible but we have to take in account that even the clock that stands still is right 2 times a day.


Michael Says:

Congratulations to Roger the Great who is defying natural limitations and proving that he is still a force to reckon with. It was a quality match where Roger was surprisingly matching Novak from the back of the court with tremendous confidence, agility and command. Despite the scoreline it was a close match which could have gone either way. In the second set, Novak had many break points, but couldn’t convert as Roger found the perfect serve and shots to deny Novak his moments. But, still the Tennis produced by Roger was extraordinary and some thing unbelievable to a man of his age. Anybody seeing Tennis for the first time would be surprised if they hear Roger is nearing 34. Such was his elegant movement and foot work on court giving him all the nice rhythm in his game to manoevure with his strategy to unsettle his opponent.

Poor luck to Novak. Need not be disheartened with his result. He has all to play for this year.


Hippy Chick Says:

Why would Novak be disheartened,when hes streets ahead points wise,and bagged the first GS of the year?….


Markus Says:

For these top guys (top 3 especially), any loss should be disheartening. No loss should feel OK regardless of any big wins prior to the loss. To not feel so would be unnatural and inappropraite for them who have the heart of a champion. It is how these 3 rebound from a loss that separates them from the rest of the field.


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus losses for some players are considered more detrimental than for for others….


brando Says:

It was amazing tennis from Federer. His serving facing break points was the central difference. He was immense.


autoFilter Says:

“To not feel [disheartened] would be unnatural and inappropriate for them who have the heart of a champion. It is how these 3 rebound from a loss that separates them from the rest of the field.”

I feel like the above is contradictory, Markus.

From the Oxford University Press entry:

‘Dishearten: Cause (someone) to lose determination or confidence.’

It seems to me that one factor that separates these top guys from the pack is that, in the aftermath of defeat, they tend to double down in determination AND maintain confidence to a greater degree than their lesser achieving peers.


skeezer Says:

“I have a major stat ridden tribute lined up for him. Will make interesting reading I promise.”
And where is this?


Markus Says:

autoFiter, thank you for the correction. Contradictory indeed. I mistakenly equated “dishearten” with “disappoint”. To be disheartened is to be discouraged and consequently, to lose confidence, as you quoted. It has a more negative connotation than disappoint. The word does not apply to those 3.

And to Hippy Chick who I previously advised to stop apologizing, I now apologize to you for contradicting your comment about Novak not being disheartened.


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus lol you didnt,so no need….


autoFilter Says:

Markus, yeah, language can be tricky like that. But I appreciate your meaning. I think you’re right that those guys are disappointed when they lose — and are disappointed on a level that they take to heart. The best of them, though, seem to be able to quickly turn the disappointment to motivation and just move forward.

I suppose that somewhere in there, though, it’s a fine line. Or, rather, perhaps it’s just context-dependent. Sometimes maybe it doesn’t make sense to be disappointed at all and is more sensible to truly just concentrate entirely on the positives for awhile. Like with Nadal playing himself back into form, for example.

On average, I like the idea of that whole 24 hour rule I’ve heard several players reference. Seems pretty sane to me.


dari Says:

What a dang treat these Novak Fed matches. Puts “Fedal” matches to shame ;)


Nirmal Kumar Says:

What a dang treat these Novak Fed matches. Puts “Fedal” matches to shame ;)

I respect this rivalry between Roger and Novak. Let’s not demean the ones between Roger and Rafa. Three best matches ever played for me is below

2006 Rome finals between Roger and Rafa
2008 Wimby finals between Roger and Rafa
2009 AO finals between Roger and Rafa.

I personally don’t think any of the matches between Roger and Novak have reached the level of the above 2 matches both in intensity and quality of tennis.


Okiegal Says:

I think the matches are great between these three. If you are a fan of tennis, how could you think otherwise?? If you have a hate on for one of them then you might see it differently. I love to watch these three play each other, especially
on clay……. :)


skeezer Says:

NK
That is some weak data in a H2H fedal. Wimby 2008 was unreal but…what about WTF finals 2010, 2011, 2012, Wimby finals 2006…and the classic 2007 Wimby??
Like I said before…I question you as a Fed fan.
Debbie downer…

Fed/Nole matches have been mutch more competitive and thrillng overall, no doubt. The match up makes for great shotmaking by both. No demeaning, its just what it is, not what its not.


Okiegal Says:

What does meh mean??


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Skeezer, I understand where you are coming to. I have listed the matches where Roger lost. But I don’t find anything shame in that. Irrespective of the result, the quality of those matches were of highest class.

I agree, 2007 should be included in that list. It was an unbelievable classic match, probably the high quality tennis throughout 5 sets.

I would not count much on the 3-set matches, not to demean them but it could never match the intensity of the 5-setters.

If I have consider a 3-set match, my top of the list would be the 2006 WTF semis between Roger and Rafa. Though it was only 2-sets, the quality of the groundstrokes were unreal.

Off late, novak vs roger is much more competitive, but that is more to do with Roger not able to match with Rafa.

My response was to a comment above demeaning the Fedal matches. I’m not trying to demean Roger vs Nole matches. They are fantastic for tennis. But let’s not forget the glorious days of Fedal rivalry and demean them.


brando Says:

2007 Wimbledon final between fedal was a hands down classic. No doubt about it. If it brings the legendary Borg bqckvto Wimbledon then you know it is! I’d also add Dubai 2006, Cincinnati 2013 as classics. 3 sets of very high, close tennis with the winner seeming unclear till end.


Tennis Island Says:

Quite easy win for Roger. This win will make the next tournaments more interesting


Giles Says:

@Okie. Meh = my response to old skeezer’s bitter and twisted posts!


Hippy Chick Says:

Agree with NK,maybe the Roger/Novak rivalry appeals more to some because Roger matches up better with Novak than he does with Rafa?….

Never the less the Fedal rivalry has produced some fantastic matches too,like the ones stated above,and many of the commies are salivating still when these too meet,regardless of the result its still the big draw….

Novak and Rafa have played some pretty great matches too AO in 2012,FO semi in 2013 was awesome,Toronto Masters in the same year,tennis has some fantastic rivalries,i suppose its a matter of opinion?

Not a fan of either but the Wimbledon final between Federer and Roddick was amazing in 2009,not a fan of the Djokovic/Murray rivalry,there was some good matches in the past,but the rivalry has lately become rather one sided,the AO final for the first two sets was good,but after that just fizzled out….


Michael Says:

For some reason,over the years that I have seen, Novak always struggles against players with one handed back hand. Apart from Roger, Wawarinka and Haas too has given him much trouble and came close to winning many of their matches, which Novak by his tenacious, determination, endurance and smart play would somehow squeak through in the end. But, still his trouble remains where he struggles hard on court to extract a win. Ofcourse the reasons for the same may be at best conjectures. May be the one handed back hand angle and pace are too much for Novak to handle.


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

Off late, novak vs roger is much more competitive, but that is more to do with Roger not able to match with Rafa.

I am not able to understand what you actually mean by this ? Can you clarify ??


Hippy Chick Says:

Michael i think Nirmal means that Roger can stay toe to toe with Novak,but cannot seem to do the same with Rafa as much anymore?although im sure Nirmal can speak for his/herself?….


sienna Says:

so funny rereading these comments.

NK was debunked a Fedfan years ago by yourstruly.
I’m glad the skeet is finally catching on.


Hippy Chick Says:

So when a fan of one player doesnt share the same annymosity for a rival that you do,then they are not considered a proper fan or a closet fan,well according to some peoples logic?….


Nirmal Kumar Says:

HC, thanks for the clarification. you are right.

Michael, my bad, i cannot write as eloquently as you can.

I meant the standard of matches between Roger and Rafa had come down in recent years, whereas between Novak and Roger it has improved. It gives a impression now that their rivalry produces better tennis.

I think the top guys anyway bring the best out of each other. At the end of the day, we should give respect to all, rather demeaning any of their matches.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

well according to some peoples logic?….

Hc, humble request. don’t ever consider this poster has any logic. kindly ignore this nuisance.


Okiegal Says:

@Giles…..Okay….now that I think about it, you two might be the only ones that use it! I thought it might mean something like LOL for instance. MEH….Making Everyone Happy??? But I knew that couldn’t be it….. :) Thanks for the feedback!!


Okiegal Says:

Why wouldn’t Fed fans like the match up with Novak rather than Rafa?? Being a Rafa fan I like the match up better with Fed…..duh?? My favorite matches will always include Rafa…..having said that, he might not always be the winner either. My favs are generally slams though.

Rafa, you rock! Happy for your title at Buenos Aires
…..they count in the resume. I would suppose every resume of every player on the planet has a 250 tourney or two under their belt, no?? :)


Hippy Chick Says:

I believe Jane made a good point the other day,although we all like a classic competitive match between two players,you also as fans like a match where your favorite is winning easily,what fan doesnt enjoy seeing Federer,Nadal Djokovic playing the matches where everything is going in and they are not missing anything,and not giving their opponents a chance,i loved the 2008 FO final….


Giles Says:

@Okie. Fed has 23 x 250 events under his belt!!


Okiegal Says:

One of my all time favs didn’t include Roger or Novak….Rafa and Verdasco Aussie Open….crazy good match!! I watched it again on the classics channel this past January and it was a classic. The shot making from both guys was OTT. One of the best matches I’ve ever seen….hard court too. So I think Rafa has played some excellent matches outside of clay.


Hippy Chick Says:

Okie mine too,Nando probably shouldve won that match?and afterwards when Rafa hopped over the net to embrace his friend made me cry buckets,given that marathon match id already set myself up for Rafa losing the final against Roger,Nando was never the same after that match IMO….


sienna Says:

giles those are
100% legit tourney won by youngster or (and pay attention) won when prepairing for big tourney. Nadal enters just for collecting some hardware to show sponserdeals that teamnadal is alive and kicking. Merchandise no tennis thought in it.


Okiegal Says:

@Chick….You might have a point about Nando never being the same. He played lights out that night…I mean it went down to the wire, with Rafa remaining the tougher fighter in the fifth. Great match and the one with Fed was awesome too. My favorite Novak/Rafa match was the last USO Rafa won. Well, we all have our favorites which is a God given right, no?? :)


Okiegal Says:

@Giles…… I had no idea how many Roger had. But the most 250 titles won turns into a title record of sorts, no? Thanks for the info…..My suspicions were spot on! :)


Okiegal Says:

Team NADAL is very much alive and kicking……so??


Okiegal Says:

Is Buenos Aires 250 tournament not 100% legit??


Skeezer Says:

@giles
Meh.


jane Says:

interesting conversation: i’d never thought of breaking titles into their alloted points category. we always talk about surface; we always talk about slams; and we sometimes talk about WTFs or masters titles, but we rarely total/break down the other two types.

i was curious about my nole’s totals naturally, and by my count he has only 7 250-level titles, and 10 500-level titles. the rest of 49 titles (i.e, 32) are masters 1000s (20), WTF titles (4) and slams (8).

he doesn’t seem to play any 250 events anymore for the last few years; he does play 2 or 3 500s every year though: always dubai and bejiing and sometimes basel. but that’s it. he could probably fit a 250 somewhere, but i guess he prefers to focus on the bigger events. i wonder if that’ll change in the future?


Skeezer Says:

250′s are for getting match play in and getting your game together without too much risk for the top players. This is where the 250′s have a place, Lets face it, Rafa hasn’t won a tournament in 9 months, so ANY title at this point gives him much needed confidence.
This was a great boost of confidence for him where he could get some needed match play in without playing any big players. Fed has done it also with tournies like Halle. There really is no harm or foul playing these events, the controversy comes from fanatical fans tring to downplay or use it to their favs advantage.


Hamza Says:

Somebody was saying – I don’t which thread – why Nadal went on to play Buenes Aires and not Acapulco ? The same reason he didn’t play Dubai: hard court. He wants to play on hard courts when he has some confidence under his belt. What the hell is wrong with that strategy if your favorite surface is clay ? Hard to understand what the fuss is about. It’s actually dumb NOT to do that if there is one surface out there where you’ve dominated the competition.


Okiegal Says:

I agree, there is no harm or foul….but let’s face it, when Rafa does it, it’s a big deal. I don’t think I’m a fanatic but I got rather sick of all the comments making a federal case out of his “lowly” 250 tournament when in all actuality, the tennis world knows why he went there in the first place. I felt the need to insinuate other players have done the same. Yes, I stood up for my guy for once…… sometimes I turn the other cheek, but not this time.
I think Skeezer had a great post, thanks! :)


jane Says:

that makes sense skeezer: getting match grooved on a surface and/or gaining confidence. i guess in some instances it may even be about the points. last fall, andy worked so hard to make london, playing lots of events and traveling so much. but that wasn’t really about getting match ready and/or gaining confidence so much as getting his ranking back up after a difficult year. so i guess they can serve numerous purposes. they also allow players early in their careers to develop and win. i noticed a lot of nole’s 250s were early in his career. he seems to use exos as a way of getting match ready – for example doha in january and boodles before wimbledon – which i guess poses even less of a risk for players since no points can be gained or lost.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane^^^ Good post! :)


Okiegal Says:

@Hamza 9:27

It is hard to understand what the fuss is all about…agree 100%!


dari Says:

Nirmal I don’t get you at all. You are the most fed hating fed fan I have ever come across. You didn’t list one match roger won in their great matches hahahahahah


dari Says:

Obviously Raf and Rog have had some outstanding matches and 2008W is very likely GOAT match, but in the past like 5-6 years the matches between them haven’t been that great.
Whereas you find yourself gasping at shots from both players in the more recent matches between nkvak and rog


Nirmal Kumar Says:

dari, i think u missed the context. the reply was not about the best matches Roger won against Rafa. It’s about the best match in their rivalry. It’s true most of their best matches ended with Rafa on top, but i don’t consider that as a disgrace to Roger. I believe playing your best is what we need to consider than just the results.


Hippy Chick Says:

Im a Rafa fan and i would say the 2008 W final was the best ive ever seen in their rivalry,however even if Roger had won that match i would still be saying the same thing ,although some posters over the years have taken the gloss of that win of Rafas,saying Fed only lost because he had mono….


Matador Says:

Djokovic should defeat an old Federer but he has some complex against the swiss.


sienna Says:

we all know he had mono. its Incredible he found a way to reach semi, finales and win a slam in 08.


elina Says:

I agree that Fedole matches are much more evenly matched and unpredictable.

It is also quite understandable and predictable that a few here are so upset with Nadal playing 250 clay events.

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