On this day: Roger Federer regains Dubai crown lost to Rafael Nadal

Following a fantastic 2006 season that saw him winning 92 out of 97 matches and the personal best 12 ATP titles, Roger Federer was hungry for more at the beginning of the next year! Undefeated since the last summer and Cincinnati, Roger dominated a previous couple of months with five back-to-back titles, including the Australian Open triumph without losing a set. After a well-deserved rest, the Swiss was back in Dubai where he lost the title 12 months ago to Rafael Nadal, standing as the clear favorite and winning the fourth crown in the desert in the last five years thanks to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Mikhail Youzhny on March 3. Carried by that outstanding Australian Open campaign, Roger kicked off Dubai action with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 win over Kristian Pless. World no. 1 struggled a bit in the first and second set but kept things under control in the decider to enter the second round, where he took down Daniele Bracciali 7-5, 6-3 with a single break in each set.

Two players from outside the top-80 were behind Federer, and he had to dig deep against the next rival, ousting the young Serb Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-7, 6-3 in over two hours. A teenager broke Roger’s serve twice to stay in contention, but the Swiss crossed the finish line first with four breaks, finding himself in the semi-final where Tommy Haas fell 6-4, 7-5 after Federer’s one broke of serve in each set. World no. 18 Mikhail Youzhny stood between Roger Federer and the fourth Dubai title, and the Swiss clinching a 6-4, 6-3 victory in an hour and 25 minutes for his 47th title and the 41st consecutive win! Roger and Mikhail met for the ninth time, and world no. 1 grabbed the ninth triumph, suffering two breaks but keeping things under control with a rock-solid display on the return that saw him creating 18 break opportunities and seizing four.

Roger Federer regained Dubai crown in 2007 after beating Mkihail Youzhny.

It wasn’t the best start for Federer, who got broken in the first game after a return winner from Youzhny, who painted a backhand down the line winner in game two to cement the break and settle into a great rhythm. Federer got his name on the scoreboard in the third game with back-to-back aces and was back on the positive side of the clock when Youzhny hit a double fault a few minutes later. The Russian had to dig deep in game eight to stay in touch, dispatching two break points before Federer seized the third to move 5-3 up and serve for the opener.

Suddenly, Mikhail found the zone again and blasted a backhand down the line winner to pull the break back and extend the set. Still, he lost the serve at 4-5 to hand the opener to the Swiss and lose momentum. As was expected, Roger was in the driving seat now, earning a break in the second set’s second game and having five match points up for grabs on the return at 5-2. Youzhny found the way to dismiss them all and survive before Federer fired three winners on his serve to seal the deal and celebrate the fourth Dubai crown in the previous five years and unreal 60 wins in the last 61 encounters since Halle in June 2006! 

Tennis – On March 3, 2007, Federer defeated Mikhail Youzhny to claim the fourth desert title in the last five years

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