Dubai - Roger Federer underlined his status
as an enduring front line contender with the 72nd title of his career
which extended his record of Dubai Open trophies to five with victory
over Andy Murray on Saturday.
The 16-time former Grand Slam
champion from Switzerland overcame the triple Grand Slam finalist from
Britain 7-5, 6-4 in a tightly-contested final in which Federer escaped
an early mini-crisis and then resisted a Murray mini-comeback.
that period, Federer's sequence of 66 unbroken service games came to an
end, but he was slightly the more assertive player and his success
brought him his 33rd win in 35 matches and his second title in
"It's beautiful winning this," Federer said.
such a difficult tournament with so many top ten players, and Andy
having such a huge victory getting to the final," he added, referring to
Murray's semi-final victory over world number one Novak Djokovic.
was a quick court and a there was a bit of breeze and I though we both
played pretty well. I got a bit lucky and played really well on the big
points, and I had a wonderful tournament.
"I've had a great start
to the season, and a great finish to last season, so I hope I can keep
it up. But there are a lot of guys who are going to play tremendous as
Murray missed a decent chance to make a decisive thrust when he had Federer at 15-40 in the sixth game.
first of these break points offered Murray a decent chance of
converting, but unaccountably he replied to Federer's three-quarter
length slightly sliced ball by over-hitting a flat backhand drive.
was also at the focus of the game's most unusual incident, appealing
for a Hawkeye replay twice on the same point, when his first serves were
called faults - and both times proving the line judge wrong.
followed it with a slightly caustic aside to umpire Mohamed Lahyani, in
which he appeared to refer to the Hawkeye controversy two days
previously when Tomas Berdych's failed return of serve stood after an
incorrect service line judge call.
And Murray followed that with
an ace as if to justify himself. But by allowing Federer to escape from
his early crisis, he had stored up trouble.
The four-times former
champion continued with his unblemished serving record -- standing at
58 unbroken games before this match -- and then broke Murray for 6-5.
happened with the help of a mis-hit return of serve, which set up a
comfortable passing opportunity for Federer, but by then much of the
damage had been done because Federer had been allowed to rebuild his
This continued in a slightly higher, smoother gear in
the second set, in which Federer this time broke much earlier, in the
third game, getting him to 2-1 and then 3-1 when he consolidated it.
a Hawkeye decision played an important role. Murray thought he had got
to 30-40 with an ace, but the replay showed it as a fault and Federer
capitalised with a rally in which he lured the Scot into angling a
backhand drive wide.
Murray then brought Federer's great serving run came to an end -- after 66 unbroken games.
happened when Federer made one slightly arrogant and another rather
optimistic approach to the net, and found Murray lobbing him both times.
one the great man was forced to turn and run, only for Murray to punish
him with a deftly angled drop volley; on the other Federer tried a
hopeful high backhand overhead volley and saw it fall into the net.
That got Murray back to 3-3 and when he then escaped from break point down to reach 4-3 a long match seemed possible.
Federer took advantage of a moderate Murray service game at 4-4,
producing one delightful approach and stop-volley combination, and on
his second break point forcing Murray to drive into the net.
At 5-4 there was rarely much doubt that Federer would close it out.
had a couple of wins," said Murray, referring to his successes against
Djokovic and Tomas Berdych. "It was always going to be a challenge
"I was happy to reach the final, though I would
like to have gone one better. I think most of the crowd wanted him to
win, but it was a great atmosphere."
Federer concluded: "It is wonderful to win five. It's only happened at a handful of tournaments maybe in my career."