Re: ATP Finals
World No. 2 Roger Federer reclaimed the Qatar ExxonMobil Open trophy Saturday as he dethroned defending champion Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the ATP World Tour 250 hard-court tennis tournament in Doha.
The Swiss player captured the title for the third time, following back-to-back triumphs in 2005 (d. Ljubicic) and 2006 (d. Monfils), making him the first three-time winner in tournament history (since 1993). Victory marked 67 tour-level titles from 95 finals for the 29 year old, who received 250 South African Airways 2011 ATP Ranking points and $177,000 in prize money. It is the 11th straight year that he has won an ATP World Tour title.
Victory in Doha gives Federer the best possible preparation for the Australian Open, which begins in just over a week’s time in Melbourne. The Basel native is the defending champion in Melbourne and is looking to add to his record tally of 16 Grand Slam singles titles.
"This is important to do well here," said Federer. "I'm not just using this to get ready for the Australian Open. This is a pleasure coming to this part of the world where I actually do spend quite a bit of time, and I've always had good friends here in Qatar. I love playing here, been successful here in the past."
The second-seeded Federer has been nigh on impenetrable on serve this week, only being broken once in 42 service games to reach the final, and was just as impressive against Davydenko. The Swiss did not face a break point against the Russian and won 79 per cent of points behind his first serve.
Federer made a fast start to the match, racing to a 3-0 lead, and despite missing six set point chances on Davydenko’s in the eighth game, confidently closed out the opener on serve. Davydenko was forced to produce close to his best tennis to stay level with Federer in the second set, but his resistance crumbled in the ninth game as Federer broke to love before wrapping up victory in 79 minutes. He improved to a 23-3 event record.
"When he's on, he's easily Top 10 if not Top 5 potentially, and that's why this is obviously a huge win, because I thought he was playing well," declared Federer. "I thought the level of play was extremely high. I was very happy with, from my side, I was almost flawless, and I was able to play offensive when I needed to, and when I wanted to it all worked out. So I'm really pleased with such a great final."
“Today he was tough. Really played fast," lamented Davydenko, who dropped to a 2-15 record against Federer. "He gave me no chance on the return, and also he was returning good. His first serve was very good. My tennis is OK, really. I don't want to say I played bad today."
The 29-year-old Davydenko was bidding to complete the Federer-Nadal double to capture the Doha title for the second year in a row, having ousted World No. 1 Nadal in the semi-finals yesterday. Last year he defeated Federer in the semi-finals before saving two match points to overcome Nadal in the final and win his 20th ATP World Tour title.
Davydenko looks to have made a welcome return to form just in time for the Australian Open, where he reached the quarter-finals (l. to Federer) for the fourth time last year. After his strong start to the 2010 season, the Russian was sidelined for three months after fracturing his left wrist in February, and struggled to regain his best form for the remainder of the season.