Who da man? Federer! Another top drawer performance as he secured his 72nd career title seeing off Andy Murray 7-5 6-4 in Dubai. It wasn't the prettiest match but it was Federer who played better on the bigger points, played more aggressive and ultimately created more chances to take the match.
I thought Fed executed a great gameplan and didn't really allow Murray to get on top in the points, in a reverse of how he usually plays Murray he hit a lot to his backhand, arguably his most stellar shot, but yesterday it was rather error prone.
Neither player served great, but it was Roger who executed better off the ground, and played with enough variety to keep Murray off balance. The one real chance Murray had of taking the match away from Roger was at 3-2 in the first set where he squandered 2 break points. Roger held and got the crucial break at 5-5 to serve out the set 7-5.
Despite the set advantage, I still felt the match was very much in the balance, despite being well into the match both players were still playing very tentatively and cagey. Roger broke to lead 3-1, but Murray hit back to lead 4-3 and it looked like momentum could have gone his way. Federer didn't allow that to happen though and rather than let the break effect his mindset, he calmly stuck to his gameplan and broke again to lead 5-4 and served out the match hitting 2 huge inside out forehands to seal the deal. Boom!
Barring the loss to Nadal in Australia, it's been a peRFect start to the season from Federer, he has won 30 of his past 31 tour level matches and won 5 of the last 7 tournaments he's played. For a 30 year old supposedly on the decline that's pretty awesome going.
I'm defending much better than maybe I was in the middle of last year, where I felt like I couldn't come out of the tough defensive positions anymore.
He's looked very sharp, his defence has been amazing and his serve almost impregnable. It's definitely made the next few months of tennis interesting, I don't have huge expectations for Indian Wells and Miami, they play stupidly slow, after that clay will always be tough but I think he has a good chance in Madrid, and then Wimbledon is the one tournament I am pinning my hopes on.
Federer Interview after defeating Murray