Roger Federer won his first title in Dubai in 2003, becoming the tournament’s dominant figure over the next 12 years and claiming seven crowns alongside losing finals to Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The Serb also had a fantastic few years in the desert, winning four trophies between 2009 and 2013 and setting up another title match with Roger in 2015. On February 28, Federer beat 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 a great encounter, and it could have easily turned into a game changer, as Novak squandered all seven break points and broke once in each set to settle for second place.
Roger played a little better on serve and return to complete the triumph in straight sets, remaining aggressive from start to finish and winning in the most critical moments to lift the trophy.
The Swiss finished the match with 29 service winners and 22 field winners, while Novak had 16 unreturned serves and 17 court winners, 18 less than Roger in total.
They had the same number of unforced errors, and Federer had to pay the price for his aggressive approach with 23 unforced errors compared to Djokovic’s 13. However, that wasn’t enough for the Serb to make the difference and send the encounter to a decisive set.
Novak was a better player in the first ten games of the second set but couldn’t capitalize on it. The Serb squandered two break chances in the eighth and tenth game and was broken 40-0 5-all, a pivotal moment in the entire clash.
60% of the points ended in the shortest range up to four strokes, and Roger had a 45-40 advantage, mostly thanks to nearly 30 service winners on his tally.
He also came out on top in midrange rallies five-to-eight shots (25-20) and stayed in touch with Novak in the longer rallies, winning five of 11.
Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic in 2015:
Roger Federer beat Novak Djokovic in the 2015 Dubai final. Djokovic got off to a better start, creating two break chances in the third game.
Federer erased them with winning smashes and serves to avoid an early setback and stay on the positive side. Both players held in games six and seven, and the first break came when Novak sent a long backhand in game eight, trailing 5-3 and allowing Roger to serve for game one.
The Swiss star didn’t need a second invite, closing the set with four service winners for a 6-3 score in 36 minutes. Novak had a huge opportunity to move ahead at 4-3 in the second set, earning two break chances which Roger erased with four good serves to get out of jail and stay in touch.
The Serb had the upper hand in those moments, taking another chance to turn the set in his favor with two set points at 5-4. It wasn’t for him, however, as Federer fended off those with a great volley and service winner before blasting another ace for a 5-all and momentum.
Djokovic has been very productive in the last four service games, retaining the first game point in each one and moving to 40-0 in the eleventh game.
Instead of a comfortable hold, Novak made three errors and gave Roger a break chance after a double fault. Federer needed just one chance to take the lead, firing a forehand winner to gain the decisive advantage and serve for the title in the next game.
Novak Djokovic had another chance to extend the set and correct his mistake from the previous game following Roger Federer’s double fault. The Swiss saved the seventh and final break chance when Novak netted a tricky backhand and capped off the triumph two points later with a forehand winner to celebrate the seventh crown in Dubai and the second in a row.