World number 3 Roger Federer edged Andy Murray 7-5, 6-4 on Saturday to win his 5th Dubai Championship. The second-seeded Federer didn’t drop a set all week and kept Murray off balance much of the match. The win was Federer’s fifth title in seven tournaments and 72nd overall. The 16-time Grand Slam champion improved to 7-8 against Murray, outplaying the 24 year old fom Scotland with an array pf powerful ground-strokes, drop-shots and occasional serve and volly.
Murray, who was coming off a semifinal win against top-ranked Novak Djokovic, struggled with his backhand and serve. He won 85% of his first service points against Djokovic, but only 48% against Federer. Federer saved two break points when down 3-2 early in the first set. But there was no looking back after that for Federer as he totally dominated Murray. Federer broke Murray to go up 6-5 and took the first set when Murray hit a forehand wide.
The two players traded breaks early in the second set before Federer broke decisively to make it 5-4. Murray saved one match point to delay the inevitable, but the Swiss star hit a forehand winner into the corner off the second match point to win the championship.
Despite losing the finals, Murray would carry lots of positives with him from this tournament, with the win over Novak Djokovic topping the list. Murray has shown constant improvements since he appointed Ivan Lendl as his coach, and now poses a threat to the top three men in world tennis. On the other hand, Federer is proving all his critics wrong time and again by stringing up such wins. Although the Swiss maestro may longer be the best bet for a Grand Slam, he still has the game to unsettle the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Also, while the comparatively younger Djokovic, Nadal and Murray are tackling injuries, Roger Federer is still going strong at the age of 30. Federer will now head to New York where he plays am exhibition match against old compatriot Andy Roddick at Madison Park Arena.