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Novak Djokovic won his third successive Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title when he defeated top seed Roger Federer 6-3 6-3 on Saturday. It was his 20th career title, and he prevented the former four-time champion claiming his first title since 2007.
The presentation was attended by Sheikh Ahmed Al Jaber Al Abdullah Al Sabah – President Arab and Kuwait Tennis Federation, H.H. Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum al Maktoum, President of Tennis Emirates, Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Vice President Tennis Emirates, Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free, and tournament director Salah Tahlak.
Federer looked tentative from the start, and second-seeded Djokovic earned an early break for 2-1 when Federer made a backhand error. Djokovic then held two more break points to lead 4-1, and although Federer held on to win on his fourth game point he dropped his serve again at 5-3 when Djokovic forced another backhand error.
Federer reduced his errors at the beginning of the second set and was rewarded with a break for 2-1. But his lead was short-lived, as Djokovic leveled at 3-3 when Federer netted a smash, and the defending champion went on to claim the next four games as well to take his winning streak in Dubai to 15 matches.
“I guess I raised up to the occasion,” said Djokovic, who allowed Federer just five points in the last five games. “I was aware of the challenge that is expecting me on the court, and I was aware of the fact that I need to be on top of my game in order to beat Roger.
“So the focus was there. It was different conditions than yesterday, which - I was just a different player there. I was serving really well, especially the first set, holding my serve except that one game when I got broken, you know, confidently through throughout the whole match. Just the perfect performance overall.”
Federer admitted that he had found it difficult to maintain his challenge after he had recovered from his slow start.
“Started bad and then kind of got into the match, but things are over in a hurry sometimes in best-of-three-set tennis,” he said. “No, look, I think Novak played well. Obviously disappointing end as well to the match. I guess you can’t win them all. I played so well in Doha in the finals, in London in the finals, in Basel in the finals. I guess I had to mess one up. It’s a pity, but, look, Novak played great.
“It’s a pity I wasn’t able to hang on a bit longer, and especially in the second set to push him a bit more. What happened to Gasquet last night happened to me today. You know, all of a sudden things happen really quickly here on this kind of surface.”