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When Roger Federer defended Dubai crown over Novak Djokovic

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Roger Federer won his first Dubai title in 2003, becoming the dominant figure at this tournament in the next 12 years and conquering seven crowns alongside the finals lost to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. The Serb also enjoyed a few fantastic years in the desert, claiming four trophies between 2009-2013 and setting another title match with Roger in 2015.

On February 28, Federer defeated Djokovic 6-3, 7-5 in an hour and 24 minutes to defend the title, improving his score against the Serb to 20-17 and claiming the 84th ATP title. It was an excellent encounter, and it could have easily gone into a decider, as Novak squandered all seven break points and got broken once in each set to settle for the runner-up spot.

Roger played a bit better on serve and return to complete the triumph in straight sets, staying aggressive from start to finish and prevailing in the most critical moments to lift the trophy. The Swiss ended the match with 29 service winners and 22 winners from the court, while Novak had 16 unreturned serves and 17 winners from the field, 18 less than Roger overall.

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They had the same number of forced errors, and Federer had to pay the price for his aggressive approach with 23 unforced mistakes in comparison to Djokovic’s 13. However, that was not enough for the Serb to make a difference and send the encounter into a decider.

Novak was a better player in the first ten games of set number two but could not capitalize on that. The Serb squandered two break chances in games eight and ten and got broken from 40-0 at 5-5, a pivotal moment of the entire clash.

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60% of the points ended in the shortest range up to four strokes, and Roger had a 45-40 advantage in them, mainly thanks to almost 30 service winners on his tally. He also prevailed in the mid-range exchanges from five to eight shots (25-20) and stayed in touch with Novak in the most extended rallies, taking five out of 11.

Roger Federer defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2015 Dubai final.
Djokovic was off to a better start, creating two break chances in game three. Federer erased them with winners from smash and serve to avoid an early setback and stay on the positive side.

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Both players held after deuce in games six and seven, and the first break came when Novak sent a backhand long in the eighth game, trailing 5-3 and allowing Roger to serve for the opener. The Swiss star needed no second invitation, closing the set with four service winners for 6-3 in 36 minutes.

Novak had a massive opportunity to move in front at 4-3 in set number two, earning two break chances that Roger erased with four good serves to get out of jail and stay in touch. The Serb had the upper hand in those moments, drawing another opportunity to turn the set into his favor with two set points at 5-4.

It was not to be for him, though, as Federer repelled those with an excellent volley and a service winner before blasting another ace for 5-5 and momentum. Djokovic was very productive in the last four service games, holding on the first game point in all of them and moving 40-0 in game 11.

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Instead of a comfortable hold, Novak made three errors and gave Roger a break chance after a double fault. Federer needed only one opportunity to jump into the lead, firing a forehand winner to earn the decisive advantage and serve for the title in the next game.

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Djokovic got another chance to extend the set and fix his mistake from the previous game following Roger’s double fault. The Swiss saved the seventh and last break chance when Novak netted a tricky backhand and wrapped up the triumph two points later with a forehand winner to celebrate the seventh crown in Dubai and the second in a row.