Dubai Tennis Championships Review: Federer's 100th
The ATP 500 began with its men's competition a week ago boasting a solid draw that included Federer, Nishikori, Cilic, and Tsitsipas.
In the first round of the tournament, four of the eight top seeds fell. This included Cilic, who returned to the court for the first time since his fourth round exit at the Australian Open. He was met by the prior week Rotterdam Open Champion and a player who he had never beaten before, Gael Monfils. The match went the distance but the entertaining Frenchmen proved to be too much for the Croat.
Khachanov also fell in the first round to an in form Basilashvili. This is now the third straight first round loss for the 22-year-old, who is now 2-5 in 2019 ATP events.
The second round saw the top seed, Nishikori, exit to a rising Polish player named Hubert Hurkacz. Nishikori was joined by Berdych who battled against a fit Borna Coric who prevailed in a third-set tiebreaker.
The quarter-finals had Coric battle Basilashvili in a match that would again go to a third-set tiebreaker with Coric prevailing, set to face Federer in the semi-finals. The other semi-final match was a first-time match-up between Monfils and Tsitsipas.
Federer powered through Coric, who showed signs of fatigue from his previous three matches, while Federer had his best performance of the tournament so far. The other semi highlighted Tsitsipas's maturity, as he was able to compose himself and claw back from a set down and battle through two subsequent tiebreakers.
The final was a dream for Fed fans, as it was a perfect opportunity for Federer to exact revenge on the NextGen start who disposed of him at the Australian Open. Despite their previous two matches being tightly contested, it was Federer who proved to be too good for the Greek. Federer exhibited flashes of his impeccable 2017 form, with aggressive play and numerous backhand winners.
And with that win, Federer joined Jimmy Connors as the only other male player to have 100 singles titles. An unbelievable achievement that the Swiss will try to add to at the upcoming BNP Paribas Masters event.