Roger Federer roared back from a set and a break down to subdue Tomas Berdych 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the Dubai Championships final on Saturday as the Swiss maestro sealed a 78th singles title.
Federer had recovered from a similar position to stun world number two Novak Djokovic in Friday's semi-final and the 32-year-old again struggled early on before he dug deep to claim a sixth Dubai crown.
It was a tough match," fourth seed Federer said in a courtside interview. "Tomas had the advantage and could have, should have, brought it home, but maybe I got a little lucky. I was very happy with my game tonight and for the week."
After beating Djokovic, Federer spoke of his need to be aggressive on Dubai's quick courts but against Berdych the 17-times Grand Slam champion seemed too eager to adopt that strategy, over-hitting a series of shots from the baseline in the opening stages.
The third-seeded Berdych, 28, suffered from a similar problem which made for a closely contested, if error-strewn, first set.
A wayward Berdych forehand gave Federer the first break and a 2-1 lead, but that advantage proved short-lived as he surrendered his serve immediately.
Serving at 3-2 down, Federer again blundered, a scuffed backhand dribbling into the net to give Berdych a 4-2 lead.
World number six Berdych's first ace of the match then earned him a set point, which he took when Federer netted a backhand return.
Federer did little to trouble Berdych's serve in the early stages of the second set, with the Czech increasingly dominant.
Two aces saw the Swiss save two break points at 2-2 but another wayward forehand meant Berdych converted a third for a 3-2 lead.
Federer, facing a third straight defeat by Berdych, immediately broke back and then held to love following a sublimely disguised half-volley drop shot at the net that had the 5,000 capacity crowd roaring his name.
"You just stand on the baseline, try to hit a few good shots and hope he doesn't keep hitting the big serves," said Federer, when asked what he was thinking after being broken in the second set.
"I was able to break back right away, which was key. I stayed calm and once I got even I started to play better."
Having built some momentum, Federer twice held to love and then earned three set points on Berdych's serve with a brilliant block volley at the net.
He took the first after the Czech slugged a forehand wide.
Receiving at 1-0 up in the decider, Federer raced to a 40-0 lead but squandered three break points as Berdych, who was on an 11-match winning streak, refused to wilt.
Federer was not to be denied, however, even if he did squander three more chances to break before a long Berdych forehand gave him a 3-1 lead.
There was still time for more jitters, Federer failing to convert two match points against the Berdych serve at 5-2 up, but the Swiss sealed the title soon after as Berdych clubbed another forehand long.
THIRD SET: FEDERER 6 BERDYCH 3
That's Federer's sixth title in Dubai. "It was a tough match but I can't be more happier with the outcome of the match. I have played well this week and it feels great," said Federer after the match.
It's two match points again for Federer and he gets it in style as Berdych hits it way outside the line. Federer 6 Berdych 3
Federer determined to finish it off in this game. Goes 15-30 up but Berdych is just not letting it away before he equals it to 30-all. Federer gains another crucial point as Berdych hits out to get the match point. The Czech gets a fine serve to take it to deuce. Intense fight for two straight points and Berdych has it. Federer 5 Berdych 3
Berdych does his best to get the crucial break and he does so getting a double break point. Federer wipes out one in that and then a big serve ensures he takes it to deuce. Close battle including a double fault before Federer holds on to his lead. Federer 5 Berdych 2
Federer continues his onslaught as he gains a 0-30 advantage before Berdych finds his composure to hold on to his serve. Federer 4 Berdych 2
It's all looking easy for Federer here. Playing some extraordinary tennis he is taken a crucial lead. Federer 4 Berdych 1
BREAK! Berdych had no answers to Federer's shots as the Swiss had a double breakpoint. Berdych's powerful serve saves one but can't stop Federer taking the break. Federer 3 Berdych 1
Berdych suddenly seems have grabbed the momentum as he has a break point. Federer's beautiful forehand winner takes it to deuce. Great battle and Federer gets his serve. Federer 2 Berdych 1
Federer won 15 of the 16 points. He is playing stunning tennis as he has a triple breakpoint advantage. Berdych manages to save all of them to take it to deuce. Another two crucial points and he holds on to his serve. Federer 1 Berdych 1
Federer gains the lead immediately holding on to his serve comfortably. He is playing amazing tennis here. Federer 1 Berdych 0
The final is going down to the wire here as the battle for the final set begins.
SECOND SET: FEDERER 6 BERDYCH 4
BREAK! Federer does everything right to get the crucial break and the second set. A double fault and an amazing return winner followed by a point rushing to the net the Swiss had triple breakpoints. Next point Berdych hits way out and Federer celebrates the second set win. Federer 6 Berdych 4
No time wasted there. Federer takes the crucial lead holding his serve. Berdych has to be perfect next game. Federer 5 Berdych 4
It was not as easy as it always has been so far for Berdych but he still managed to pull it off quite convincingly. Federer 4 Berdych 4
Stunning show from Federer as he holds on to his serve comfortably. The pressure is back on Berdych as he plays the catch-up. Federer 4 Berdych 3
BREAK! Federer is up by 15-30, and then earns a double break point and gives Berdych no chance as he earns the important break back to level games. Federer 3 Berdych 3
BREAK! Federer's serve and volley not working the way he wants it to as Berdych earns a breakpoint. A brilliant serve from the Swiss takes the game to deuce. Berdych holds his nerve as he gets his break. Federer 2 Berdych 3
Little fuss as Berdych holds on to his serves. He's serving well there. Federer 2 Berdych 2
Federer has an easy game to hold his serve. Federer 2 Berdych 1
Federer suddenly seems to be proving to be a tough nut. Interesting shots and he is up 0-30. The next point, Berdych calls for referral and he wins it. There was no looking back then on as he wins the next four points to snatch the game. Federer 1 Berdych 1
Federer finishes off the his first game in the second set without much fuss. Easy one for the Swiss. Federer 1 Berdych 0
Federer has to come up with his top game to win from here. It's not going to be easy against the red-hot Berdych
FIRST SET: BERDYCH 6 FEDERER 3
Federer going strong to lead 15-30 but Berdych grabs the next three points including an impressive powerful serve to take the first set. Berdych 6 Federer 3
Does not drop a single point on his way to the game. Can Federer get this crucial game? Berdych 5 Federer 3
That's an easy one for the big man. Berdych hardly wastes any time to finish off his game. Berdych 5 Federer 2
BREAK! Berdych is taken his game up to the next level. Gets another break. He makes it look so easy. Berdych 4 Federer 2
Federer takes the game again to deuce. But Berdych gets his composure right and serves well to pick up the next two points to seal the game. Berdych 3 Federer 2
BREAK! Berdych fights back immediately to earn a triple breakpoint. Misses the first one but takes it in the next. He must be relieved now. Berdych 2 Federer 2
BREAK! Federer makes his move early in the first set as he takes a triple break point advantage. And he wins in the first one. Advantage Federer here. Berdych 1 Federer 2
Federer has it easy to go level. Some stunning serves to be seen. Berdych needs to be on his toes. Berdych 1 Federer 1
It was not the best of the starts for Berdych. Federer plucked two points from Berdych's serve before the Czech holds it. Berdych 1 Federer 0
Both the players arrive in the center court. The stadium is packed to its capacity. Toss followed by the warm up.
We are just minutes away from the match to begin, stay with us to get the latest scores.
Roger Federer will be the favourite to win but Tomas Berdych will ensure the Swiss does not have it easy as they face off in the final of the Dubai Duty Free Championships at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.
Berdych has been fantastic during his road to the final defeating Wilfried Tsonga in the process while Federer played a top class match to oust Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
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