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By Chris Oddo | Saturday, February 28, 2015

 
Roger Federer, Dubai 2015

Roger Federer put forth a flawless, clutch performance to slip past Novak Djokovic in straight sets for his record seventh Dubai title on Saturday.

Photo Source: Dubai Duty Free Tennis

It was fitting that Roger Federer cracked his 9,000 career ace in the second set of his 6-3, 7-5 victory over Novak Djokovic in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final on Saturday, joining Goran Ivanisevic, Ivo Karlovic and Andy Roddick as one of only four players in history to achieve that milestone, because his serve was what eventually enabled him to roll to victory.

Federer-Djokovic, By the Numbers

Federer saved all seven break points he faced—several with aces and unreturnables—to frustrate Djokovic time and time again on Saturday, and eventually claim his record seventh career title in Dubai, and the 84th of his career.

“Today he was just a better player on the court, he played big points perfectly, he served well,” said Djokovic. “There was not much I could do. I didn’t have much chance. Out of seven break points maybe I had one or two second serves. He just played some great points and I have to congratulate him for that.”

“I definitely won the big points tonight,” said Federer, who rallied back from 15-40 down on three occasions, and saved a break point while serving for the match.

The victory gives Federer 20 wins in 37 career matches against Djokovic, including two straight since dropping the Wimbledon final to the Serb last July.

Federer really didn’t get much of a sniff against the Djokovic serve, but when he did he made the most of it, converting on both break points he saw. Djokovic sailed a backhand to hand Federer a break for 5-3 in the first set, and the Swiss maestro promptly served out the set in the next game.

In the second set, after Federer fought back from 15-40 to hold in the eighth and tenth games, he would lash an inside-out forehand winner to break for 6-5 and give himself a chance to serve for the title.

Federer’s aggressive game on the fast courts of Dubai led to 37 winners against only 19 for Djokovic, but the Swiss maestro paid for his aggressiveness with 35 errors against only 22 for the Serb.

When asked on court why he lost the match despite having five more break points than Federer, Djokovic was quick with his sense of humor. “I think I’m going to get the same question from Boris [Becker, his coach] in about 20 minutes,” he said.

At the net Federer struggled to handle Djokovic’s polished passing game, and he was only able to win 9 of 21 such points.

But in the end Federer’s 11 to 1 ace advantage helped him gain the edge, and the fact that he won 80 percent of his first serve points against Djokovic’s daunting return game also helped.

Though his serving was the story, Federer’s ace milestone wasn’t what was on his mind as he chatted about his most recent title. For a man with 84 career titles in 126 career finals, the winning is all that matters.

“It’s really secondary, isn’t it?” Federer said of his ace milestone. “It doesn’t matter.”

 

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