March 1, 2014

He's Not Going Anywhere

The great Roger Federer had fallen this season at his lowest ranking in more than eleven years.

In 2013 he'd only won one title, his least prolific showing since 2001 when he claimed his maiden crown in Milan. He put up an encouraging fight in Melbourne, sure, but lost in straight sets in the semis, extending Major-less streak to six -- a long run for him. He'd beaten a couple top ten players this year, but over the last twelve months has also lost to then-world #116 Sergiy Stakhovsky and little-known Federico Delbonis, not much better at #114.

At thirty-two years of age, it's easy to assume there was not much gas left in Roger's tank, and that maybe we'd seen him lift a trophy for the last time.

But this week in Dubai Federer was able to squeeze out a little more of his star power.

Seeded just fourth at the event, he had a fairly easy road to the semis, but with four other top-ten players in the draw, there were plenty of threats still out there. He lost the first set to Novak Djokovic, who'd beaten him in their last three meetings, but found the strength to rally and reach the final. Today too he got behind against Tomas Berdych, who'd beat him on these courts just a year ago -- he lost the first set and got down a break in the second before rallying to force a decider. And he stayed strong in the third, fighting off opportunities for the Czech to draw back even and ultimately closing out the match and the championship in just under two hours.

It was Federer's sixth title in Dubai, his seventy-eighth crown in total, and marks his fourteenth consecutive year with at least one singles trophy. And with a couple wins over players now ranked higher than him, it certainly seems like he's still got the fire power to add to those totals. Whether he makes a play for another Slam in the months that come, or rides this momentum to a couple more Masters titles, one thing's for sure -- those who'd written him off already will have to put him back at the top of their lists.

Roger Federer isn't about to roll over just yet.

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