Originally not scheduled to play Rotterdam, Roger Federer decided to drop into the Netherlands when the chance surfaced to take the No. 1 ranking from the idle Rafael Nadal.
It proved a nice one-week diversion for the Swiss who re-took the No. 1 ranking by reaching the semifinals, becoming the oldest No. 1 in history at 36, then Sunday breezed to the title after a 6-2, 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov.
“It’s definitely one of those weeks I will never forget in my life,” said Federer. “It’s unbelievable to get my 97th title and get back to world No. 1. It’s very special…I thought that this wasn’t going to be the result, but [Dimitrov] looked to be struggling a bit and I never looked back. I was able to execute my tennis the way I wanted to.”
Federer had 15 winners and converted on four of eight break point opportunities en route to a third career Rotterdam title.
The Swiss is now only 12 titles behind Jimmy Connors’ record 109.
“I was able to handle the pressure and today I played great from the beginning,” he said. “I pushed forward and I’m very proud that I could win here in Rotterdam.”
Federer is now 12-0 this year and has won 25 of 26 matches since the US Open. He improved to 7-0 career versus Dimitrov.
Nadal will next take to the court in Acapulco, but cannot retake the top spot from Federer, who will enter Indian Wells at No. 1.
The No. 5-ranked Dimitrov, still looking for a first title of the year, fell to 8-7 in career championship matches.
“It was a great week, but I just came up short today,” said Dimitrov. “Anything can happen, but all credit to Roger. He deserves to win the tournament and played unbelievable tennis the whole week. He raised the bar. I just want to take the positives from the week. My goal was to come out here and play well with each match, but I just came up short today. You do the best you can and play with whatever you have. I was following my game to the capacity I could and that was the result.”
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