Federer flies high in Dubai


Federer celebrates his Dubai win (Thanks to www.cbc.ca)

Roger Federer was flying high in Dubai last week as he won his sixth title at the ATP 500 event. The title run was welcomed by his fans as he built on the fine form he showed in Melbourne. And it looks as if his pairing with Stefan Edberg is really paying off.

Federer, the fourth seed, had a difficult draw. In the first round, he had a tough obstacle in Radek Stepanek, eventually seeing off the Czech in 3 sets. Next, he faced Lukas Rosol, beating him handily, 2 and 2. Then came Djokovic. Federer had not beaten him since 2012 but Djokovic is somewhat unmatch fit this season, competing in only 5 matches and not having played an ATP tournament since his early exit in Melbourne. Meanwhile Federer played 10 matches in the Australian swing, making the final in Brisbane and the semis in Melbourne. Federer certainly looked the less rusty of the two, coming back from a set down to beat Djokovic 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Tomas Berdych was waiting in the final. The Czech has a good head to head against Federer, beating him 6 times and losing 11. 1 of those wins had come the previous year in Dubai, Berdych coming from a set down to take the match. And 2 of those wins had come at Majors, at the 2010 Wimbledon Championships, and the 2012 US Open. Berdych was also in great form, some say the form of his life, having made the Australian Open semis, and winning his first tournament in nearly 18 months in Rotterdam a few weeks ago.

Berydych’s form was still on as he took the first set 6-3. But Federer, whose results have improved impressively since teaming with Edberg at the start of the season, turned the match around, his confidence high after the Djokovic win, and his variety and willingness to come to the net carrying him through to a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win.

Flying high in Dubai, Federer might have been, but flying high in the ATP rankings he is not. Ranked 8, he has to maintain his recent return to form to be seeded in the top 8 for Roland Garros in May and avoid an early clash with Nadal or Djokovic. With Indian Wells and Miami coming up, two of his old stomping grounds where he has won 2 and 4 titles respectively, he has a chance to fly higher up the rankings and closer to the heights he once scaled, heights from his play in Dubai last week he still believes he can reach.

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Christian Deverille

Christian Deverille is a tennis writer with a diploma in Freelance Sports Writing from the London School of Journalism. He loves all things tennis, most of all the Federer and del Potro forehands.

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