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Federer: Bigger Is Better

Dubai, U.A.E.

Federer© AFP/Getty ImagesRoger Federer will seek an unprecedented seventh Dubai crown in two weeks.

Roger Federer conveyed a sense of vindication in his recent racquet change following a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday.

Federer, who began using a larger racquet head at the start of the season, acknowledged his strong results in Dubai have established a newfound sense of mental clarity and comfort with his new weapon of choice.

“I'm just happy that now it's clear, I don't have to think of it, and I can just play tennis,” Federer said, referring to the uncertainty regarding his racquet. "It's not in the back of my mind anymore, Is this racquet good or not?  I was convinced in practice, but then you hope that the results are going to follow and they did.

“When you can play that way, you're more free, you have an open mind. That's when you are more successful. I'm very happy."

His rejuvenated form in 2014, highlighted by runs to the final in Brisbane (l. to Hewitt) and semi-finals at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal), have given back to the Swiss some confidence in his abilities that he felt was lacking in the big points in matches.

“I’m happy that the results are paying off, especially in quick succession. I have only just switched (racquets), and here I am, already getting to the finals in Brisbane, semis at the Australian Open, I won my Davis Cup match, and now here I am with a trophy.”

Watch Final Highlights

Federer clinched his first title since winning on the grass of Halle last June, registering comeback victories over Top 10 opponents in consecutive matches in the semi-finals (d. defending champion Djokovic) and final. Those clutch performances under pressure against two rivals had the Swiss describing his week in the desert as “one of those I needed right now.”

The 32 year old, who also rallied from a 0-2 deficit in the deciding set against Radek Stepanek in the second round, added, “There is a lot of pressure. Sometimes I have been disappointed with my play when it really mattered. Same against Stepanek in the third (set) when things got tough there against me as well. I was able to come up with the goods. It's one of those tournaments.”

Federer will travel to Indian Wells for the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year, the BNP Paribas Open, which begins 6 March. He is a four-time champion (2004-06, 2012).

Match Summary

  • Federer won his 78th career title on the ATP World Tour with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 3 Tomas Berdych.
  • Federer moved into sole possession of No. 3 on the Open Era titles list behind Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94).
  • It is the third time in his career Federer rallied from a set down in the semi-finals and final to win an ATP World Tour title (’13 Halle, ’07 Hamburg).
  • It is the first time since 2012 Wimbledon he defeated Top 10 opponents in the semi-finals and final.
  • Federer has now won at least one ATP World Tour title for the past 14 years (since 2001).
  • Federer is 4-1 against Top 10 opponents this season, already equaling last year’s wins total (4-10).
  • It is his sixth Dubai title in eight finals and he’s defeated six different opponents: 2003 (d. Novak), ‘04 (d. F Lopez), ‘05 (d. Ljubicic), ‘07 (d. Youznhy),‘12 (d. Murray) and ’14 (d. Berdych). He also has won six-plus titles at three other tournaments: Wimbledon (7), Halle (6) and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (6).
  • Berdych’s career-best 11-match winning streak was snapped with his second straight runner-up in Dubai (l. to Djokovic last year).

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