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Federer Wins Fifth Dubai Crown

Dubai, UAE

Federer© Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsRoger Federer defeated Andy Murray to win the Dubai title for the fifth time.

World No. 3 Roger Federer won his fifth Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title in the 20th edition of the ATP World Tour 500 hard-court tennis tournament. The Swiss defeated No. 4 Andy Murray 7-5, 6-4 in the final on Saturday evening.

The 30-year-old Federer has won the title five times in 10 years, having previously triumphed in 2003-2005 and 2007. He also finished runner-up in 2006 against Rafael Nadal, and lost to Novak Djokovic in last year’s final.

Federer won his 72nd tour-level title, and his second in three weeks having triumphed at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. del Potro) two weeks ago. The Swiss improved to a 72-30 mark in tour-level finals.

"It's great. There is no substitute to confidence," declared Federer. "I've played great. It's not just that I've taken my chances. I really thought I played a good tournament here. I played a great tournament in Rotterdam. The end of last year was exceptional, so it's nice to also win a tournament outdoors now. That gives me hope that I can carry it over to Indian Wells and Miami."

Sixteen-time Grand Slam champion Federer has been on a remarkable run of form in the past six months, winning 33 of his past 35 matches since losing in the semi-finals of the US Open (l. to Djokovic). Taking in four titles, including victory at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (d. Tsonga), Federer’s only defeats in that period have come against Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals and to John Isner in the Davis Cup first round.

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Playing Murray for the first time since November 2010 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Federer fended off two break points when trailing 15/40 in the sixth game. The Swiss then put Murray under pressure in the 11th game, and though denied from 0/40, he converted his fifth break point in the game before serving out the first set.

Capitalising on his momentum, Federer broke to lead 3-1 in the second set as Murray struggled to find the form that had seen him dispatch World No. 1 and three-time defending champion Djokovic in the semi-finals a day earlier. The Scot rallied, though, and won three straight games to earn a 4-3 lead. However, his reprieve was shortlived as Federer benefitted from more errors to break in the ninth game and served out victory in one hour and 36 minutes.

"The match was close I think in both sets," said Federer. "I just gave myself more opportunities than Andy did overall. I felt really good out there tonight. I felt calm knowing what I wanted to do. I think the surface, I used it to my advantage, which in the last year's final I couldn't or didn't. I think that was a big thing tonight as well."

The 24-year-old Murray was bidding for his second ATP World Tour title of the season, having won his 22nd career trophy at the Brisbane International in January. The Dunblane native was playing his first event since reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open, where he was beaten in five sets by Djokovic.

"I think second set he played better than me," said Murray. "For sure I made a few too many mistakes in the second, and he was playing a lot more aggressive than in the first set. But overall it was a good week. It was perfect preparation for the stretch over in America. Got through very tough matches against top, top players, so it was good."

The final was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Patron of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.   

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