Roger Federer made history on Sunday in Dubai becoming the first player to win eight Dubai titles, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 in comprehensive fashion.
Oh, Federer’s title was also the 100th of his storied career, joining only Jimmy Connors (109) as players to reach the 100 title mark in the Open Era.
“It’s been a long, wonderful journey,” the 37-year-old Federer told the crowd. “I have loved every minute.
“It’s been tough but the sacrifice has been very, very worthwhile and we’ll see how much more I’ve got left in the tank. Reaching 100 is an absolute dream come true for me.”
Federer also win his first title of 2019, meaning he’s taken at least one trophy in every year going back to 2001.
“I think this one has a deep satisfaction, an immediate one, because I know what it means. I like these type of numbers or records,” Federer said. “A lot of people always emphasize all the Slams and all these things. I play on the ATP Tour. This is where I’ve won so many of them, been around for so long. I don’t rest between Slams all the time, like people think I might be. But I’m not. I think this number proves that. I think that’s why this was a very exciting week for me.”
Tsitsipas, who had won his last eight matches, stunned Federer at the Australian Open. But unlike in Melbourne, the Swiss was sharp on break points breaking on both of his chances.
“I played the right way. Things happened fast. Best-of-three set tennis on a fast court against somebody like Stefanos, who also likes to take the ball early, I tried to be very aggressive myself and it worked out. I got off on a flyer in the beginning and never looked back,” said Federer, who landed 76 per cent of his first serves and won 83 per cent of those points. “In the second set, I think I was overall maybe able to create a few more chances. I just felt good in defence, good in offence, good on the serve. That’s a good combination to win.”
Tstisipas was trying to win his second straight over Federer and his second straight title, but will crack the Top 10 on Monday regardless.
“He was very aggressive, didn’t give me any time today. I was expecting it, for him to be a little more aggressive. He just seemed like he was having control over everything he was doing, taking the ball super early, on the rise, giving me no time to prepare,” Tsitsipas said. “It was a very fast-tempo game. It felt like he was controlling everything on his own terms. He was just very, very aggressive.”
Federer will have about a week off before heading to Indian Wells where he made the finals a year ago.
“Just happy on all fronts how my game progressed, how well I played in the final, on top of it winning the eighth, winning the 100th. So many magical things going on,” Federer said. “I’m very, very happy right now.”
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) March 2, 2019
OPEN ERA MEN’S TITLE LEADERS
109 Jimmy Connors
100 Roger Federer
94 Ivan Lendl
80 Rafael Nadal
77 John McEnroe
74 Rod Laver
73 Novak Djokovic
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